What is Body Language and Nonverbal Communication?
So what exactly is nonverbal communication that’s stressed over here?
Nonverbal communication is all about conveying and receiving messages without words. Body language is a significant part of nonverbal communication. It stresses particularly on physical actions.
Nonverbal communication delivers your message through posture, clothing, gestures, distance. Body language conveys through physical actions like breathing, tone of voice, chest and shoulder movements.
We interact with people through nonverbal communication, more so often instinctively rather than consciously. While most of our personal and professional relations succeed because of solid verbal communication, nonverbal communication also plays an important part.
Importance of Nonverbal Communication at Work
Similarly, if your nonverbal actions do not match your words, you create mistrust, tension, and confusion. Hence, to create a happy and harmonious bond with people at work, your body language should match up with the words you speak.
Become more sensitive to your body language and nonverbal cues and get the benefit of:
- Improved communication with your team members
- Positive impact on clients
- Better understanding of how others truly feel
- Positive professional image
How To Improve Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace
The following tips will enhance your nonverbal communication and get the most out of your workplace communication:
- Develop Self-awareness While communicating, keep an eye out for your behaviour. Take notes of the nonverbal signs you’re sending. This increases your self-awareness, and you will understand what signs you send during communication. You also realise what you need to focus on for an effective conversation.
- Keep Your Shoulders Relaxed Keeping your shoulders high suggests you’re nervous. While slumped shoulders show you’re sad. Relax them and maintain them at a comfortable height. Make sure that they’re in a natural position and do not look like you’re trying too hard!
- Maintain Proper Posture Proper posture equals confidence! While talking to someone, stand or sit straight. Maintain a straight spine, as this shows you’re interested in the conversation. Now and then, chin up to ensure you have positioned your neck correctly.
- Check Your Facial Expressions
Your face is the ultimate treasure of expressions. Without uttering a word, you can convey a thousand feelings. Hence, it is crucial to keep your facial expressions in check.
Smile when you meet someone and in between the conversation when appropriate. A blank face can often be misunderstood and appear as a scowl. Smiling can ooze calmness and maintain a pleasant expression.
- Use Gestures Gestures are an essential aspect of a conversation. Waving, using hands when arguing, pointing, or speaking animatedly are examples of how we unknowingly use gestures. Even in a professional environment, use hand gestures to stress certain phrases.
- Keep an Eye Contact
Visual senses are amongst the most dominant senses. This makes eye contact a strong necessity. It maintains the flow of the conversation and shows that you’re interested in the conversation.
Hold eye contact with the person you’re speaking to. But avoid overdoing it. One trick to ensure you’re keeping the right amount of eye contact is to look into the person’s eye long enough to note their eye colour and then look away. This ensures that eye contact is comfortable and natural.
- Focus on Vocal Tone
Undoubtedly, what you speak is important, but how you say it is also necessary. People pay attention to your timing, tone, pace, inflexion, how loud you speak and sounds that convey information.
Your vocal tone makes a lot of difference. For example, grunting shows disagreement. Through the tone of your voice, you suggest your intention. It can either be sarcastic, frustrated, angry, or joyous.
Hence, ensure that you speak softly. Avoid repeatedly sighing or speaking in a high-pitched tone. Don’t speak quickly, as it suggests you’re nervous. Slow and careful curation of words projects confidence!
- Face the Person The rule of thumb is to face the person while speaking! Facing away signals disinterest or distraction. You want to convey that the person speaking is valuable and you’re listening to them! So point your feet in their direction and face them.
- Study Other’s Body Language The best way to improve your nonverbal communication skills is by observing others. Note their mannerisms, tone of voice, and how they hold themselves. Mimic the cues yourself to convey nonverbal signals better.
If you find difficulties in developing good nonverbal communication skills, ICBI can help you improve your image and soft skills. Contact us and get trained to build your image and become a certified image consultant!
The author, Suman Agarwal, is the senior-most Image Consultant in the Indian Sub-continent and director of Image Consulting Business Institute. Image Consulting Business Institute is a pioneer in India and one of the biggest brands in the world in Image Management and Soft Skills Training Space. It offers programs for people to become Image Consultants and Soft Skills Trainers and at the same time offers Image Management and Soft Skills Training services to individuals and companies.