Everyone understands the importance of good communication. Being able to verbally convey actions, thoughts and needs in a clear and concise manner is critical in any organization. However, one method of communication often overlooked is nonverbal communication. Often, it is nonverbal communication – facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, tone of voice – that speaks the loudest. If your nonverbal behaviors contradict the verbal message being delivered, the listener will almost always believe the nonverbal message over the verbal. Consciously utilizing nonverbal communication in your interactions with others can improve understanding and relationships overall.
Tips to improve nonverbal communication:
Looking someone in the eyes while speaking shows you are interested in what they are saying and also communicates confidence in the messages you deliver. Conversely, not establishing good eye contact can convey feelings of insignificance and uncertainty.
Our emotions are conveyed through our facial expressions. A frown may communicate anger, unease or boredom, whereas a smile is pleasant and welcoming. Each may have their place at a given time, but overall, you want others to feel comfortable and at ease in your presence.
Slouching signals to others that you are disinterested in them or insecure in the message you are delivering. Movement is also important. Pacing the room, tapping a finger or pen repeatedly on the desk or swinging your leg back and forth while seated in a meeting can communicate feelings of boredom and impatience. Sit up straight and control distracting gestures.
Tone of Voice
When verbally communicating, tone of voice says more than the actual words. Joy, anger, frustration, sarcasm, indifference, etc. – all can be detected by your tone of voice. In order for the message to best be received, speak softly and calmly so your words are the focus, rather than your emotions.