The American culture is by comparison to international standards a “no-touch” society. This means we use touch very selectively, such as shaking hands when being introduced, or an occasional pat on the back. Such selective use of touch creates an opportunity to use this non-verbal means of communication as a powerful medium to increase your appeal with someone, whether it be a person of the same or opposite sex.
Because We Don’t Really Know…
We go through our daily interactions with strangers without really knowing how they feel about us. We can’t. Afterall, we are not mind readers. It is for this reason that we tend to keep strangers at a distance until we get to know them. Would it not be great if we could influence that behavior by letting them know how we are feeling without saying a word? Each of us has this unique gift and it comes in the form of TOUCH.
Why Touch is such a Powerful Communicator of Emotion
You might be surprised to know that verbal communication plays a very small role when communicating emotion. Verbal words are great for technical things, such as giving directions or instructions, but when trying to communicate how a person feels, the top two methods of communicating this is through the eyes and with touch. Think of your emotions as electricity and your body as the power line. When you touch another person, that electricity flows from you to them. It’s like plugging your computer into the internet and downloading a software program–the program being your feelings. When you touch another person, your feelings and emotions will be transferred to that other person instantly.
The Fleeting Touch
The fleeting touch is the accidental or “chance” touch that is so short, people often wonder if it happened in the first place. This can be while exchanging money, bumping into someone, handing someone a drink, etc. Even though the fleeting touch is short in duration, a lot of energy is transferred from you to the other person in that short time and it can produce some powerful positive feelings. It has the power to create strong subconscious feelings of warmth and attraction if done genuinely. In the course of persuasion, fleeting touches can almost always produce a positive effect if done correctly.
Know that the acceptable areas of touch are different depending on the gender of the person. Men can touch women only on their hands and forearms, but women can touch men virtually anywhere. Men can touch other men on their hands, shoulders, forearm, or upper arm. Women can touch other women on their hands, forearms, upper arms, and knees.
Be Careful of the Thin Line
In the workplace, you must always be careful of using touch because of the inherent risk of sexual harassment. Emotions in the workplace, although impossible to avoid, has always been brushed under the carpet. Since touch conveys so much emotion and feelings, it can be mislabeled as sexual harassment and that’s not something you want.