Couples who work hard together to start and grow a business say that open communication and intimacy makes sharing life and work sweeter and more successful. Yet while wearing your business hats, most of the communication is talk, talk, talk.
Intuitively, we all know that nonverbal communication – eye contact and touch – can speak volumes, but still, it’s noticeably absent in the workplace, even when your co-worker is your spouse. Better communication then becomes about better ways to phrase what’s on your mind.
In Roman mythology, the goddess Venus oversees both sexual intimacy and business. Other ancient beliefs share this connection. Modern research shows that the ancients were definitely onto something.
The Hidden Language of Touch
Research on touch as communication is surprisingly recent. In 2009, DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein conducted numerous research studies in which volunteers “communicated” specified emotions to a blindfolded stranger solely through touch. His conclusion was that through touch, we are able to decode emotions quite precisely.
Stronger Bonds, Better Team
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign psychologist Michael Kraus and his team studied the physical contact between teammates in the NBA during televised games. They found a connection between teammates touching more often, and better results by the end of the season.
When you bring more nonverbal, intimate communication into your work day, a profound shift can occur in both your work and intimate life. This is because nonverbal communication brings strong, clear and immediate response.
“The stronger the reciprocity, the more likely someone is to report emotional intimacy and satisfaction with the relationship,” says Laura Guerrero, coauthor of Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships, who researches nonverbal and emotional communication at Arizona State University.
Love, Mutual Support and Success
Sexual intimacy is the deepest, most consistent and comforting nonverbal communication a couple experiences. Over time, nonverbal connection dwindles with the time available for sex. Intimacy becomes a lower priority if you start a family and/or you start a business.
Let Venus be your guide … your close connection is at the heart of your business success. Fortunately, as a couple in business, you can enjoy loving and supportive touches and look into each other’s eyes at almost any time – with your work hats on! Here are a few other ways to incorporate the power of nonverbal communication in your workday:
- When your partner is struggling with a decision, ask her to sit upright in a chair and stand behind her. Place your hands over her scalp, right hand covering the right side and left hand covering the left. Clear your thoughts and breathe naturally. Focus your attention on balancing the energy between your hands. The energy is balanced when both hands should feel the same degree of warmth – typically within 2 to 5 minutes. When you remove your hands from your partner’s head she will feel much more clarity of thought.
- If your partner is feeling overwhelmed, ask him to sit upright in a chair. Place one hand on his forehead and the other at the base of his skull. Clear your thoughts and breathe naturally. Focus your attention on balancing the energy between your hands. Again, this will take about 2 to 5 minutes. When you lift your hands away from your partner, he will feel calmer and more organized.
- In meetings with prospective and current clients, of course, you are both facing the clients. But do take moments to look at each other, right into each other’s eyes. This nonverbal communication helps you to keep your presentation on point and can help you to remember key points. Your clients will also feel encouraged by the connection they sense in you as a team.
Intimate nonverbal communication can nurture both your marriage and business. Take advantage of being able to give and receive loving touches, winks, and smiles every day!