“You Are A Moron” and Other Things you May be Communicating Accidentally

At Water & Wall Group, we are animal people. Between the lot of us, we’ve had dozens of pets ranging from hedge hogs and boa constrictors to multiple breeds of dogs, cats, fish, rabbits and rodents. Take a quick peek at any of our inboxes, you will see “19 Samoyeds Who Will Warm Your Wintery Heart” between FundFire and client emails. Puppies, and some children, but mostly puppies.


So why do we love dogs so much? Sure, a dog will give you a happy woof when you get home from work, or howl when it’s feeling lonely, but that’s just the beginning of how they communicate. What about when a dog pulls his ears back because something has gone wrong? I think one of reasons humans feel so strongly about their furry (or scaly, prickly, fluffy) companions is because we’ve learned how to communicate with them in a non-verbal way that leaves little doubt as to how they’re feeling.

They’re not alone. A surprising amount of human interaction is done without words, like slouching in a meeting when bored, or pursing your lips when you don’t like what someone’s saying. Non-verbal communication is often more important than the spoken word. Anyone can say, “Things are fine,” but a raised eyebrow will indicate otherwise.

This is why during televised or recorded interviews, we advise fidgety people to keep something in their hands to avoid using them too much. We also recommend keeping good posture to radiate confidence and poise, an important aspect of being considered an expert on a topic.

Ultimately, the best way to control non-verbal communication is to relax. By managing stress, you can limit the twitchy movements that we’re are all guilty of from time to time. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Here are a few of our top tips to alleviate pre-interview/presentation stress, especially for those not used to being in the limelight:

  1. Prep! Usually a TV producer will schedule a prep call where you’ll be briefed on the questions. Draft answers and use those to guide your on-air answers. When you’re underprepared, you lack self-confidence, which may show itself in fidgeting, ear-touching, darting eyes, and other nervous behavior.
  2. Sit tall to radiate authority; lean in to show engagement.
  3. Bring along lip balm to avoid constant lip-licking. This behavior might be interpreted as nerves, and we don’t want anyone to think you’re nervous about what you’re saying.

Our pets understand our moods and feelings. They know when we’re upset, when we are happy, and when we’re scared. By being unaware of how you reveal yourself, you’re probably alerting others to your feelings as well. Be conscious of your non-verbal communications and you’ll be well on your way to building alignment between your words and actions.