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I Played A Game About Animals And Connected Deeply With Someone In Less Than 5 Minutes

I Played A Game About Animals And Connected Deeply With Someone In Less Than 5 Minutes

I want to share a game with you.

This game will reveal something surprising. It’s something nice for ice-breaking with some newly-met friends, and a great way to reconnect with your long known friends.

To make the game work, promise me, don’t scroll to the bottom through all the text to get straight to the results. Deal?

Are you ready?

The Game

I want you to think of three animals right now. The first three animals that come to your mind, what are they?

These animals can be any kind.

Just one condition, make sure you do know about these animals in reality; and that they are not make-up things, for example, no Mickey Mouse.

They don’t have to be your favorite animals. But of course, they don’t have to be the ones you hate.

They don’t have to be pets. They can be big ones, or small ones.

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Let’s work on the first animal together.

What is it? Does it walk, fly or swim?

What is its habitat like?

How would you describe it? Clever? Reliable? Hard-working? Amiable? Courageous? Dangerous?…

Got your first one yet?

Okay, let’s get to the second animal.

So what’s it this time? Is it one of the mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians?

Where does it live?

And the nature of it, wild or easily tamed?

How does it interact with its same species? Does it tend to live in a group or alone? …

The second one’s ready?

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Let’s get to the last animal.

I know it’s getting harder when it comes to the third one. But don’t worry, I’m still with you.  So what’s it for the last one?

Does it live under the sea, high above somewhere or on the ground?

What is it good at? Hunting? Protection? Learning? Escaping?…

What does it like doing? Relaxing? Having fun?…

If you’re still playing along with me, I think you’ve already got the three animals in your mind. And the next step will be fun.

If you haven’t got your three animals, I’ll wait a bit. Just don’t scroll to the next part yet.

Once you get to the next part, you’ll never ever be able to enjoy this game again. There’s no turning back, trust me. So, please have the three animals in your mind ready first!

I’m waiting….

….

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… yea still waiting….

….

Ready? Good. Let’s get to the next part.

….

….

….

The animals that come to your mind and the order of these animals can reveal a little about you:

  • The first animal that comes to your mind represents how you think others see you.
  • The second animal reveals how others actually see you.
  • The third animal represents the kind of person you really are.

I played the game with others and their results surprised me and themselves.

I played this game with a fellow editor and the barista of the coffee shop downstairs and these are what they told me about.

    ▲ The three animals that came to my fellow editor Emily’s mind were dolphin, seal, and pig.

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    To Emily, a dolphin is smart, playful and agile; a seal is watchful, careful, playful and likes to stay within their social groups; while a pig is cute, smart, and loves eating and sleeping. She found it especially true that she loved eating and sleeping like a pig. I also found it true that she’s a careful person who pays attention to details.

      ▲ The three animals that the barista Ryan chose were lion, tiger, and sheep.

      Ryan is the barista downstairs, we recognize each other as I always go there to buy muffins but we’d never really talked much. I just came across him during a time when he was less busy and so I played this game with him.

      To Ryan, a lion is strong and charismatic as it’s always seen as the king of forest; a tiger is brave and competitive; while a sheep is pure, gentle and loves to follow the crowd. He was really surprised about the results and he also found it unbelievable that he’s like a sheep. He didn’t believe all of these but we did have a great laugh over his choices and we shared our thoughts about how he really took the risk to be brave like a tiger to become a barista instead of following the crowd to get an office job.

      How you describe these animals is how you and others perceive you. You can probably connect these animals’ nature with your own life somehow, right?

      Remember, the Game is all about connecting with someone.

      The above things are not all correct. There’s no research or studies as evidence to prove that these animals are representing your personalities. But as I said, this is a game, a game that I’ve heard about for many years. And a game is supposed to be fun, and it’s supposed to be fun to play with others.

      As you play along though, you feel like the game really seems to be reflecting some parts of your thoughts, and some bits of who you are.

      Imagine playing this game with someone, you’ll only need a few minutes to get to know more about them. As you play this game with others, you guys get to discuss about your aspirations, interests and hobbies. It’s a great opportunity to understand a person’s character in a delightful way. You’ll probably be remembered as a witty person who can dig into some deep and meaningful topics starting with an interesting game.

      A bonus tip: this game is good for ice-breaking, but don’t forget about the basic greetings and introduction before trying this game. Just at least make sure you guys will play the game under a casual and relaxing atmosphere first.

      In case you forget about the details of this game, save this article now so you can make use of this game the next time you’re getting to know someone!

      More by this author

      Anna Chui

      Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

      It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous The Jeopardy of Taking Others’ Opinions Seriously life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind What Is The Secret To Convincing Someone To Change Their Minds?

      Trending in Communication

      1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

      Posture

      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

      Facial Expressions

      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

      2. Relax Your Face

      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

      3. Smile More

      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

      4. Hand Gestures

      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

      5. Enhance Your Handshake

      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

      Final Takeaways

      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

      Reference

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