Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Spectrum of Social Communication Cues

Social cues can often enhance or even downplay what is being said or portrayed in a situation, but the social cue needs to be interpreted in the right manner for it to better a social situation. People who are better equipped to identify and understand these social cues are more likely to act appropriately to them and will be better prepared to respond to them and adapt their behavior.

As in all situations, there is always a possibility for going from one extreme to the other without having any middle ground in between. For social cues, it can be a fairly wide spectrum with plenty of variations. On one side of the spectrum, a person can be very obvious with their cues such as speaking very loudly or making very large and awkward hand gestures. These types of cues are easy to spot and can often make people feel uncomfortable right away. On the other hand, there are cues that are more subtle and can often be missed if not recognized right away such as excessive eye blinking or adding a tone to their words. 
Unfortunately, these types of cues may go unnoticed and can portray the wrong message. The key point is being able to recognize each side of this spectrum and the different ways a social cue can be interpreted. When you learn the extremes, you will be better equipped to catch the cues and adapt your behavior faster.

Until next time ...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Monday, January 17, 2022

Non-Verbal Communication Cues

The Eyes Have It

Not all cues from others are seen correctly and may be well hidden, but the eyes can often give them away. Common eye behaviors such as rolling the eyes or looking around frequently can be signs of boredom or discomfort. If a person looks at you while talking or moves their eyebrows while listening to you talk, this can be a sign of interest or curiosity. However, since these feelings may not be articulated or even gestured, it is helpful to be aware of them.

Common eye behaviors:

• Eye-rolling

• Blinking too much or too little

• Wandering eyes, not looking directly at a person

• Long blinks

Non-Verbal Cues

It has been said that non-verbal communication is the most powerful form of communication since it can expand beyond voice, tone, and even words. It accounts for over 90% of our communication. Although the differences in non-verbal communication can be different in certain situations, such as personal space allowed or use of hand gestures, most cues can send the same message across the board. Nonverbal cues can include facial expressions, body movements, eye movement, and various gestures and are not always associated with the spoken words. 

Common non-verbal cues include:

• Folding the arms

• Looking around frequently

• Tapping the feet or clasping hands

• Fidgeting

• Moving closer or farther away

Verbal Cues

Verbal cues are cues that we are more likely to pick up on and notice right away. They are usually done with some sort of emphasis or tone that causes an effect within us and is mostly likely to stick with us in the future. Phrases such as “Did you see the new rules in the handbook?” or “I can’t wait to see the projections for this week” add emphasis to certain words to stress a point or effect. Other verbal cues can include appropriate pauses when speaking, pitch, or volume of the voice or even speaking too slowly or quickly. These are cues that we can control and use with our voices to get a message across. 

Common verbal cues:

• Voice tone or pitch

• Word emphasis

• Volume

Uncomfortable pauses or "filler" words such as "um," "uh," "you know," etc.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Social Communication Cues: Recognize Social Situations

Social cues are verbal or non-verbal hints that let us know what someone maybe thinking or feeling. When in a social situation, it is important to keep an eye out for these social cues and ensure our behavior isn’t contributing to them. While some cues can be obvious, others may be very subtle, so we must train ourselves to be able to recognize them when they do appear.

Social cues can often enhance or even downplay what is being said or portrayed in a situation. But the social cue needs to be interpreted in the right manner for it to better a social situation, not make it worse. People who are better equipped to identify and understand these social cues are more likely to act appropriately to them and will be better prepared to respond to them and adapt their behavior.

Social situations are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Because the people in each situation are different, we must learn to adapt ourselves to this ever-changing group and know how to handle them. This does not mean we have to change who we are or hide our own personality, but rather we can change how we present ourselves around other people. Some of the best hints we can use are the ones we get from other people around you. How are they behaving? How are they ‘working through the event? Do you know all of them? Are there faces you do not recognize? With this information in mind, determine what type of social situation you may be in. Is this a formal gathering? Is it a business meeting or function with coworkers? Maybe a few friends catching a bite to eat? The key is to recognize your surroundings and the people involved to help determine how to present yourself.

Questions to ask in a social situation:

• “What is the purpose of the gathering?”

• “Who is present?”

“Do we share common interests?” 

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Connecting on a Deeper Level: Observing Body Language

Body language can speak volumes between people even if there are no words to accompany it. Often, people may say one message, but their body language can say another, meaning they may not be truthful in what they say. By observing and becoming more aware of body language and what it might mean, we can learn to read people more easily and understand some of their body movements. By better understanding their movements, we can be better prepared to communicate with them while at the same time better understanding the body language we may be conveying to them. Even though there are times that we can send mixed messages, we can try to get our point across using certain behaviors. Our body language affects how we act with others and how we react to them as well as how they can react to ours.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Connecting on a Deeper Level: Always Keep Your Cool

Keeping our cool in tight or stressful situations can be tough and takes a lot of skill to make it through gracefully. It is perfectly normal to feel embarrassed or hurt when someone does something you don’t like such as speaking rudely to you or pointing out a mistake you made. Our first instinct is to possibly lash out at them or try to retaliate by hurting them in return, but the key to strong and professional communication is to keep your cool at all times and not let the negative feelings take over. When something happens that may send you over the edge, take a minute to reflect on what was said and what happened. If needed, you should step away for a few moments to compose yourself. Don’t deny the other person their opinion, but let them know how you feel and how it affects you. Kinder coworkers will back track their statements and try to address the problem in less negative terms. If the coworker is unwilling to give respect, realize that their opinion may not be worth the fight.

Tips for keeping your cool:

• Try not to take words personally.

• Stop and reflect what was said, not how it was said.

• Make a note to learn from this experience.

• Ask yourself if the person had reason for what was said. If so, what can you do to change it?

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Connecting on a Deeper Level: Be Consistent

Consistency is a key factor that builds interpersonal relationships. Being consistent in what we say and do shows knowledge and reliability because it helps build a familiar base. People will want to communicate with you because you will become a factor they know they can trust. In addition, ensure that your actions are consistent with what you say. In other words, do what you say you’ll do. If you say you will meet someone after lunch to review a report, ensure that you are there early to greet them. If you volunteered to give a speech at the next work convention, be prepared ahead of time, and be ready when the day arrives. Showing you are consistent in turn shows how reliable you are and what an asset you can be for the group. 

Take a few minutes to reflect back on your actions and note if they have been consistent over time. Are there behaviors you can change? What can you do differently in the future?

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Connecting on a Deeper Level: Give Respect and Trust

Sadly, talking and listening has often been seen as a tool for simply communicating with other people but not for building connections and networks. This assumption doesn’t recognize the fact that interpersonal communication is a great tool to connect with people on a deeper level and form a connection with them. Speaking interpersonally allows both parties to feel more at ease and open up to one another. Just remember to be an active listener, and watch your own body language.

It is a common courtesy in any conversation to treat the other person respectfully and professionally. By treating their ideas and opinions respectfully and with due consideration, you are showing respect by hearing them out, listening to them, and considering what they have to say with an open mind. When communicating with coworkers, it is important to build rapport and trust by speaking with each other respectfully and giving each other your full attention. After all, they deserved to be treated with dignity and courtesy for their thoughts and opinions. In addition, give your trust to them and let them know that you feel confident enough to speak with them openly. The motions and feelings we put out into the world will come back to us, so don’t be afraid to speak openly with your coworkers. They will be impressed that you can give respect and trust so freely and will appreciate the effort you are trying to make with them.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP