Mastering the Art of Nonverbal Communication: Top Tips
People looking for ways to improve their communication skills often focus primarily on verbal and written communication and tend to overlook one very important aspect—nonverbal communication. While the first two are considered vital, research has indicated that nonverbal cues make up a huge percentage of people’s daily interpersonal communication.
That being said, nonverbal communication should also be given equal importance taking into account its significance. If you are in the lookout for effective ways to master the challenging art of nonverbal communication, you have come to the right place. The beneficial tips enumerated below should get your efforts off to a good start:
Observe nonverbal signals
Not everyone may be aware of it but people communicate in many different ways. For instance, people can communicate through posture, gestures, tone of voice, and body movements, etc. All those are nonverbal signals that can convey significant information that’s not verbalized. Your ability to pick up nonverbal cues can dramatically improve your own ability to communicate clearly.
Be mindful of your tone when speaking
Your tone can provide a wealth of information ranging from enthusiasm to boredom to anger. Observe how your tone of voice affects how people respond to you and you’ll be able to appreciate how important it is.
Fortunately, if anything, your tone can help you emphasize messages you would like to convey. For instance, if you want to show someone you are truly passionate about something, you can show your enthusiasm by using an animated tone.
Establish and maintain eye contact
When you don’t look people in the eye when you are talking to them, it can often come across as rude. Also, even if you are just shy, some can assume you’re being evasive or you’re trying to hide something.
However, while eye contact is deemed an integral part of good communication, it’s also important not to overdo it. Good eye contact does not mean staring blankly into the other person’s eyes. Several communication experts consider eye contact with at least four to five seconds interval as ideal.
Ask questions when needed
If you are not sure about the other person’s nonverbal cues, don’t think twice about asking questions. Start by rephrasing what you understood and then clarifying. Oftentimes, asking questions can provide a huge deal of clarity to a particular situation.
For instance, a person might be unaware of the nonverbal signals they are giving because they are too distracted. By asking, you’ll get more insight about the other party’s intent and message and you’ll gain a clearer understanding of what they’re really trying to convey.
Make communication more effective and meaningful by using signals
In most cases, verbal and nonverbal communication go together to fully convey a particular message. In line with this, it is recommended that you enhance your verbal communication by using body language that will support and reinforce what you want to say. This technique can be especially useful when speaking to a huge number of people or when making presentations.
For example, if your aim is to appear prepared and confident during a presentation, make sure you focus on nonverbal signals that ensure others see you as capable and self-assured. Stand firmly in one place with your shoulder back and your weight should be balanced on both feet so you will appear more confident.
Always take into account the fact that signals can be misread
According to some, a firm handshake can be indicative of someone with a strong personality while a weak one can be taken as a sign of weakness. This example clearly illustrates the huge probability of misreading nonverbal cues. A limp handshake might not indicate weakness but something else entirely like arthritis.
In line with this, it is considered ideal to observe and look for groups of behavior. Keep in mind that the overall demeanor is more telling than just a single gesture that’s viewed in isolation.