Non-Verbal Communication Skills

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There is more to communication than the words one speaks or message being conveyed. There are also non-verbal cues that all use in everyday conversations. Being mindful of the signals you send others through body language and the manner in which you speak may get your point across a lot faster than your mere words.

Body Language

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The saying, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ is so true in the world of business. It is easy to shower someone with promises, but when it is time to perform, if the actions do not measure up to the words spoken, the words spoken will be forgotten.

The use of body language can have both positive and negative effects. The thing to remember about body language is that if you are not conscious of what your body is doing while you are talking, the wrong message could be conveyed. For example, if you are smiling while giving someone condolences on the loss of their loved one, that could be construed as inappropriate and your words insincere. On the other hand, if you are congratulating someone on a job well done, but do so with a frown on your face, you could appear to be unhappy for the person.

The signals you send to others.

Sending non-verbal signals to someone can be a great way to reinforce that which you’ve verbally spoken. It can also be used as a tool to further explain what you’re trying to say. However, it can be a way of confusing the listener.  So, this can be a valuable skill as long as you are conscious of it and have trained it to have a positive effect rather than using it as an uncertain form of communication.

It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

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The manner in which you say something could be the factor that determines what the listener hears. It is important to be aware of your emotions, body language, tone, speed, and pitch when you speak. It may sound like a lot of work and until it becomes second nature, it may be, but consistently doing so can produce a favorable outcome. It is possible to send the wrong message without intentionally doing it, so be careful. An innocent request such as ‘Please shred that document’ can sound like a rude command.

Case Study

Kevin sat and listened to his colleagues presentations. He would nod when he agreed with something, and would give a thumbs up when appropriate. He also clapped when appropriate to demonstrate that he was on their side. When he got up to make his presentation, he made sure to keep his tone of voice positive and kind. Because he had shown them so much respect, they showed him respect and congratulated him on a job well done.