Only a small percentage of human communication happens through spoken words, while the majority happens via body language. Master this form of nonverbal communication to improve your ability to communicate.
“Actions speak louder than words.”
~A Famous Proverb
Since ancient times, we have used our body language to communicate, conveying our emotions and thoughts to other people. A well-known research project on nonverbal communication conducted by Dr Mehrabian in the 1960s states that 70 to 93% of all communication is nonverbal. The voice and its components like tone, intonation and volume, take up about 38% and about 55% of a person’s communication comprises body language, leaving only 7% to the words actually being spoken.
What is Body Language?
Body language is a form of nonverbal communication that deals with the way facial expressions and body movements are used to convey someone’s thoughts and ideas. If you can learn to understand the complexities of body language and how things like voice tone, eye movements, hand gestures, and body postures and movements relate to people’s emotions, you’ll be able to significantly improve your ability to communicate.
Proficiency in understanding body language allows you to comprehend what someone is trying to convey to you, even if they’re not intending to tell you that information through words. The ability to understand people’s body language and to use your own nonverbal signals smartly are extremely valuable communication skills you can possess.
Why Nonverbal Communication Skills are Crucial in the Workplace?
The appropriate use of nonverbal communication with a colleague, client or potential customer builds trust and strengthens relationships whereas lack or negative use of it may result in something exact opposite. If prospects find you bored, distracted, or annoyed, they would start to distance themselves and eventually decline whatever you may be proposing.
Displaying positive nonverbal communication at the workplace increases your credibility and trustworthiness which help you land the deal. Learn the secret of body language to master the art of nonverbal communication and ensure your actions and facial expressions align with your words, especially during critical conversations. You will be able to achieve your professional goals with greater efficiency.
7 Body Language Tips to Master Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication through our body language plays an important role in how we convey our message and information to others. You need to be able to convey as well as pick up on certain body-language-based nonverbal cues in the workplace for effective communication. Here are seven body language tips you can use to improve your communication skills.
1. Make direct and optimal eye contact
Eye contact is an incredibly important part of body language in communication. Looking directly in the eye with a mild smile builds trust between a speaker and listener. This gesture ensures you are not distracted or irresponsible. It's also important to avoid making too much eye contact. Maintain the right amount of eye contact to create a long-lasting impression.
2. Keep your hands open
Closing your fists or clenching your hands are not the best ways you present yourself to others. Relax your shoulders, straighten your back and keep your hands open. Also, keep them off your face. Opening your hands is a physical way to convey that you are open-minded in your professional conversations, meetings and presentations.
3. Limit distractions
We have never been more distracted than we are today. Phone, text messages, notification tones coming from your computer or phone and various other such things are ready to grab our attention. You need to ignore these things and pay maximum attention to the person you are talking with. This approach gives you a more confident and authoritative tone during conversations.
4. Try mirroring
Mirroring or repetition of actions creates an impact on the psyche of the listeners and boosts their awareness of what has just been put into words. Must consider mirroring to create a long-lasting impression, especially during one-on-one meetings, and sensitive or critical presentations. Next time while in a one-to-one conversation, notice subtle activities and if possible, slowly replicate it. Do this optimally to avoid awkwardness.
5. Speak slowly
Slowing down the speed you speak helps or increases persuasiveness. Providing more time between words gives the audience a chance to understand and agree with your idea. Also, you project a sense of confidence by speaking slowly and carefully. It is crucial to slow down when you're making key points and even pause periodically if you need to in order to gather your thoughts.
6. Nod periodically
Nodding is an effective non-verbal form of communication. It easily conveys the person you're having a conversation with that you're listening to and engaged in what they're saying. It offers the perfect way to express your agreement and empathy with the speaker without actually saying anything which can help to boost their confidence.
7. Avoid fidgety movements
Fidgety movements, such as tapping fingers, shuffling your feet or touching your face, are generally perceived as signs of discomfort, distraction and nervousness. It may have nothing to do with your intentions, but people interpret it as insincerity. Be aware of such movements you may be doing during conversations and try your best to relax. Developing a strong sense of self-awareness can help you avoid them.
When your body language matches your spoken words, your message is reinforced and helps colleagues, clients and potential customers better understand you. Learn body language secrets and utilise nonverbal communication to create a great reputation at the workplace and accelerate your career growth.
Do you communicate smartly or need help to enhance your communication skills? Take the Free Communication Skills Assessment to take the first step to speak with confidence.
Smita D Jain is a Certified Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Performance Enhancement Coaching Programs enable introverted executives to speak with confidence and communicate with impact so that they emerge leaders sooner than envisaged.
Prior to her journey as a coach, Smita had extensive experience of 14 years as a corporate and business strategy professional with Fortune 500 companies. She is also a TEDx speaker, a panellist cum speaker at various public forums, a published writer, and an Amazon bestselling author.
You can learn more about Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Executive Coach Smita D Jain’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com and book a strategy session at https://www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com/booking.
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