Situations like what happened in Charlottesville, VA and the people pulling down the monument in Durham can stir up debates. How should you handle these tricky situations when you have a different point of view?
Let's say that you completely disagree with what someone is saying. You might want to set them straight. Before you say a word, think about your end game. Ask yourself why you want to pipe in. Is it because you have something valuable to say? Are you sharing a viewpoint that the person hasn’t thought of? There’s a difference in educating people and criticizing their thinking. Your opinion isn’t more valid then theirs, even if you disagree with them.
Body language plays a role in conveying understanding disagreements. Smiles can be misinterpreted as agreement and this isn't necessarily the case. I can smile at you because I'm friendly, but that doesn't mean that I'm buying what you're saying. Or, I can smile at you as a way to cool down.
Your body language can impact disagreements. Relaxed facial expressions (no furrowed eyebrows, lips pulled tight, eye glares), shoulders, hands and stance are important. If you show tension then they’ll see and feel the tension. And you stir up problems without saying a word.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/corporate trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.