How often have you been in a conversation with someone, and they are non-verbally telling you that they’re not interested in you or what you have to say simply by the messages their body language was sending you? They were looking down at their watch, scoping the room to see if there was someone more important to talk too or they constantly checked their phone for messages. According to research conducted by Dr. Ralph Nichols, we communicate 55% of the time by our body language alone. We are speaking volumes, and we haven’t said a word. As a matter of fact, Dr. Nichols believes we only communicate 7% of the time by the actual words that we say. If you want to improve your ability to communicate more effectively, make sure your verbal and non-verbal messages are congruent. Your body language and what you are saying must be in sync. People believe the non-verbal as being more accurate.
Worth Remembering – “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Alan Greenspan
While verbal and written communication skills are essential, improving your nonverbal skills will ensure others receive your message the way you intended.
The following tips can help you improve your nonverbal communication skills:
- Pay attention to the nonverbal signals you are sending. Try to mirror their body language. Keep your head up- chest out and make eye contact. When making eye contact, use the 5-second rule. Too much eye contact can be interpreted as seeming confrontational or intimidating. Smile – you want to appear open and receptive. Keep your arms down at your side – not folded across your chest.
- You communicate 38% of the time by the tone and inflection in your voice. It’s not what you are saying as much as it is how you are saying it. Your style and volume can convey a trove of information ranging from enthusiasm, disinterest or anger. Your voice is an instrument. Vary the cadence and pitch. Don’t talk too fast or too slow. Emphasizing certain words or pausing for effect can be powerful.
- Ask questions. Asking questions lets the other person know that you are interested in them and what they are saying. Asking questions is an excellent way of ensuring you understand what was said. I listen to understand, not necessarily to agree. I respect your right to express your point of view, but I don’t have to go along with it.
Worth Remembering – “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” Emerson.
We are not born knowing how to be a great communicator – but we can learn to be. Practice your non-verbal skills. Remember – you are not the most important person in the conversation. If they didn’t receive the message the way you intended – then whatever you said means nothing. If they think you are a good listener, then you are. If they think you are a great communicator, then you are. Perception is their reality.
Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is available for keynote speeches, corporate events and training sessions. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization, visit his website – https://briansmithpld.com