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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Echaves: Beyond words

YOU’D think the message was enough.

But powerful communication, experts say, is made up of 7 % of what one says, 38 % of how one says it, and 55 % of how one looks when he says it.

So, management-labor negotiations, interviews and even presscons are most delightful to witness and observe when all the communication aspects play out.

For example, when the person holding the press conference crosses his arms, experts says he’s defensive. But when he also frowns and clenches his fists, he’s definitely defensive and hostile, too.

Crossed arms represent a protective or separating barrier. Various causes can range from severe animosity to mild boredom, or being too tired to be interested and attentive, or even feeling threatened.

When the subject of a presscon points a finger at someone, he is being confrontational and dictatorial. When an adult does it to another adult, the former is showing lack of self-control and arrogance.

That’s because the finger represents a gun or a pointed weapon.

Now, if the interview person points a finger, and then wags it side to side, his finger is actually a pistol, threatening “Stop it, do as you are told, or else….”

Presscons allow a free exchange of questions and answers from both sides. So, when the interviewee’s hand is resting heavily or longer on his chin or side of his face, plus his gaze is unfocused or averted, he’s either tired or bored.

But when his hand covering the side of the face extends to the ear, there’s a reluctance to listen and/or to agree to what is being said.

The gesture also indicates that the interviewee does not want other views and opinions.

Now, what if the person digresses and lets out a wolf whistle?

Typically a two-note sound with a rising and falling pitch, the whistle is often an unsolicited expression of sexual attention or attraction.

The earliest beginning of a wolf whistle is traced to Lupercalia, the ancient Roman fertility festival held in mid-February. The pagan festival is likely to have started with the founding of Rome in 753 B.C. or even earlier.

In his Mercator, the Roman comic playwright Plautus describes the passing of a woman through the streets, sending men to look at her, leer, nod, wink and whistle.”

From this jeering pack came either all of some of the real predators, always with the woman as intended victim. So, is it ever okay to wolf whistle, even for the so-called street culture?

Wolf whistles, often associated with construction workers or waterfront workers, are sometimes justified as part of their “street culture.”

But contributor Tony Parsons rebuts and throws in examples for comparison. He asks, do journalists, for instance, bawl “Oi, love, do you want to see the short piece I have to get in by the end of the day?”

Or, he continues, do cab drivers cry “Hello darling, haven’t you got anything smaller?” Or are politicians prone to declaring “Over here, sweetheart, do you want to see the size of my majority?”

Lawyer Salvador Panelo, spokesperson of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, will soon find that his two hands are not big enough to parry queries about his boss.

Because more important than the message is how Duterte says it, and how he looks when he says it.

(lelani.echaves@gmail.com)
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