Non-verbal communication – José Luis Martín Ovejero

José Luis Martín is an expert in non-verbal communication. He began his professional career as a lawyer but his dream had always been to dedicate himself to teaching. After 25 years practicing as a lawyer, he was presented with the opportunity and changed the toga for the communication. He has been working as a teacher of Non-Verbal Communication, Assessment of Credibility of Testimony and Oratory for several years. He combines this position with collaborations in all kinds of media, conferences and professional and occasional personal coaching.

José Luis denies false beliefs and explains what nonverbal communication consists of. Reflect on all the factors that it encompasses. Analyze what it takes to be a good communicator and offer tips on how to take advantage of non-verbal communication in digital environments.

“So important is what we do and is worthy of observation and listening, that what we stop doing and must not go unnoticed”


José Luís Martín

After 25 years working as a lawyer you decided to switch to communication and teaching, why this change?

It was a dream come true. I always wanted to be a lawyer, when I had been practicing law for many years, I dreamed of teaching. On the other hand, the world of communication has always fascinated me and, while I was working, I obtained the degree of Expert in Rhetoric and Legal Argumentation at Universidad Complutense and Master in Non-Verbal Behavior by Universidad Camilo José Cela.

Then everything came alone, I concluded my work as a lawyer with a business consultancy and decided to make the leap to this new activity.

I have never repented

How close is the world of the advocacy of communication?

More than the advocacy of communication, I would say that, conversely, communication is close to all human activities, also to the legal profession. Whenever we want to understand someone, make us understand, exchange ideas, etc. communication plays a fundamental role, in the legal profession there is a lot of communication: lawyer-client, lawyer-lawyer, with jurisdictional agencies, in negotiations, in trials…

What can a lawyer teach a communicator to communicate?

I do not know a person or a profession that I can not learn a lot from.

Perhaps, the most interesting aspects could be related to knowing how to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of others, or to argue and to refute other points of view; In any case, it will always depend on each person, each professional and their experience, on how little or much they have developed in their activity and with other people.

What factors encompasses non-verbal communication?

All human communication, including verbal, although the name may lead to think otherwise.

We analyze the face and how emotions are reflected in it, body positions, both in movement and in a more static situation, the gestures of hands, arms, legs and feet, the handling of distances, the use of physical contact, the look, the physiological reactions, the appearance, the voice (intonation, volume, speed …), the content analysis (what words we use to communicate, how we build the sentences, the use of the verbs …)

And so important is what we do and it is worthy of observation and listening, that what we stop doing and must not go unnoticed.

Do you think that most people are aware of everything we communicate?

Not at all, we are aware of a small part, very small, the majority escapes our control, and that is where the great value of discovering it and knowing how to interpret it is found.

In that same line, how can we differentiate a good communicator from someone who is not?

Looking to those who listen to him: Do you understand him? Does it move your hearts? Do you encourage action and get it? Do you really teach?

He can be a great communicator and not have gone to school, but he knows how to talk to others so that they understand, move, convince…

One of the fundamental keys lies in believing and feeling very much within oneself what one expresses to his audience.

Within your profession you also work as a personal trainer for public or judicial appearances, what is your method of work?

First of all, to know exactly what the person needs, there are different possibilities: a concrete examination, a conference, a TEDx talk, better arguing before courts of law, television presenters, negotiating with better results…

Second, I must study the person, his strengths and weaknesses.

In a third moment, reinforce the strong points and eliminate, minimize or teach to manage the fears, insecurities, complexes or communicative weaknesses that, in general, all people can have.

And fourth, practice and practice.

Always giving as much importance to the verbal message as to the non-verbal communication of the person.

After your experience, do you think that oratory is something innate or is it a matter of practice?

There are people who are born, so to speak, with a special ability to speak to others and manage to drag others without much effort.

Others study it, practice it and they can also achieve it.

If I had to choose, I would stay with those people who leave more stragglers and their desire for self-improvement and personal effort make it reach where no one would have imagined when as a child was a boy and a girl quiet and shy. This group fascinates me and all admiration is little.

It is clear that non-verbal communication is essential in audiovisual media, but how does it move to digital environments?

Non-verbal communication is the part of the most innate communication that we bring as an inheritance from our ancestors. We usually call it, in many cases, “intuition”, and that is what makes us, one thousand times, decide between trusting or not a person, a product, a service …

Communicating to the limbic area of ​​our brain will give great and, above all, lasting results, it is our emotional side. Remember what Maya Angelou wrote us: “people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.

Let us feel and our memory will be indelible.

What characteristics should a website have beyond the text to be considered as communicating well?

Always think about who sees it more than who makes it.

Faces, looks, smiles, short phrases with content, play with certain colors, will always come quickly and effectively to that limbic brain of which I have spoken.

Anyway, I am not an expert in the realization of web pages and I must admit, surely here you will find more qualified professionals than me.

When we talk about communication in advertising and marketing, sometimes that expression says: “what we do not say is more important than what we say”. Do you agree with that statement?

Peter Drucker said that “the most important thing in communication is to listen to what is not said” and there was no lack of reason, although we must not ignore what is also told to us and how it is done. Balance, we do not give all the importance to only one aspect and we will obtain better results.

Become aware of what we should be told and not done, intuiting or knowing that it is not careless, we will know the great weaknesses of the person or product.

What do you think about the idea that receivers are becoming more and more visual? Can we take advantage of this trend? How?

In my opinion, most people are more visual. The information enters us through the eyes, therefore, to ignore this reality would be a difficulty, although this is like everything, you can always see the world from another perspective: if all brands focus on “visuals” and one does more towards the “auditive” for example, who will take more people to their land, who compete against a much wider audience, or one that is dedicated to a smaller audience but with almost no competition? I leave it there…

Do you see any direct or indirect relationship between non-verbal communication and web development focused on the user experience?

Nonverbal communication always adds up and should never be disdained. Everything that is communication that achieves a better experience in the web environment of the user will be more positive for the latter and, consequently, will be more effective also for the web.