Tag Archives: non verbal

The art of nodding

NoddingI know, I know, this is not really an art… or, is it? Many people nod as an indication of greeting or acknowledgement. Much of this “Nod” is subconscious and thus is done based on thoughts that you are not making consciously. You may have had a conscious thought  about this at one time and then it is set in memory and just takes place “automatically” but, did you know that there is meaning to how you nod? Similar to the way information is sent subconsciously with a nod, it is likewise received the same way, leaving an undertone of emotion associated with that person. Here is what I am getting at. If you are sent before the king, you will notice that he is sitting in a throne that is conveniently placed up several steps making it so that even when he is sitting, he is higher than those he is speaking to. Placing him Higher or “better” than the people because of his royalty, wisdom, or any other reason they feel justified to be “above” the people. A nod performs a similar act, when you walk past a person that nods at you, do they nod upward (pride) or downward (humility) ?  Likewise, which direction do you nod? The way you nod in a greeting or acknowledgement environment shows the person that you are nodding at how you feel about them or rather if you feel that you are better than them. The nod upward is a way if trying to place yourself above the other person. A downward nod would indicate humility and respect. Also in relation to the way a person nods back, the lack of a nod (if it is recognized of course) in return can be meant as an insult. Now keep in mind that there are different meanings for each of these indicators in different cultures. Some of the variations that you should be aware of is similar to a downward nod can indicate agreement, a upward nod can also indicate disagreement or NO. As it relates to friends, (this is where it is a bit sketchy) an upward nod can indicated a less formal friendly greeting similar to, walking up to a friend and saying “hey Punk!” could be accepted as a less formal and friendly greeting whereas walking up to someone that you do not know as well and saying the same thing is considered an insult. It is believed that Nodding started as a less formal way to bow but still show respect.

Now that you know, How do you Nod? How do people Nod at you? but more importantly, how does knowing this affect the way you communicate and receive communications?