What does each of these items have in common?
- A car’s blinker
- A rattling rattlesnake (I experienced this just last month!)
- Outstretched arms and a smile
They are all signals that communicate something to those in the area. A car’s blinker signals the driver is about to make a turn. A buzzing rattlesnake signals that it feels threatened and wants you to move away. Open arms and a smile almost always signals that you’re about to get a hug!
Every day we encounter and respond to multiple signals, quite often without even being aware of them. In fact, I think that we’re often not aware of what signals we’re actually sending to others.
Consider the following:
|If we…||We are likely signaling…|
|Have our headphones or earbuds in…||We aren’t interested in interacting with others or don’t want to be disturbed.
|Are focused on our smartphone when we’re in the presence of others…||There’s something more important, or more interesting, than what we’re involved in right now.
|Look someone in the eye and ask questions when talking with them…||We are interested in them and what they’re talking about.
|Say “Hi” to someone we know when we see them…||We noticed them and that they are important enough to us to say “Hello”.
|Smile…||We are friendly and approachable.|
Think about what you’re regularly signaling to those around you. Do those signals accurately reflect the message you want to send or the person you want to be?
Let’s work at being aware of the signals were sending those around us and, where applicable, consider signaling something more positive.