Non-verbal communication is through gestures, postures and eye movement. It also includes body language as well as diverse behavior like appearance, tone of voice and the surroundings in which the message is delivered.
The important general principle is that you can strengthen your verbal message by ensuring that your words and nonverbal language are in sync. When your verbal and non-verbal language messages match, you convey the impression that you are trustworthy and honest.
When used congruently, the head, the face and eyes provide the clearest indication of attitude towards others. If you are addressing a group member, turn towards him and make eye contact. Your full attention suggests self-confidence and respect for that member. When you have good eye contact with the person you are addressing, that individual interprets what you have to say more favorably than if you avoid eye contact. If you make eye contact with group members in turn,they pay more attention to your message and perceive you as more confident.
Posture is the most obvious nonverbal signal of self-confidence and belief. Standing up straight reflects high self-confidence, whereas stooping and slouching indicates the contrary. Leaning toward other individuals suggests that you are favourably disposed towards them and their message.
People often attach more significance to the way you say something than to what you say. A forceful voice, which includes a consistent tone without vocalized pauses, suggests power and control. A whining, complaining or nagging tone annoys most people. To improve voice quality, listen to your recorded voice and keep rehearsing till you sound more confident.
Matching your body movements to those of the person you are communicating with (called mirroring) without being too obvious creates a sense of solidarity that conveys a feeling of agreement with the other person.
- Body Language symbols can be broadly categorized as Positive & Negative symbols
POSITIVE BODY LANGUAGE SYMBOLS
|Palms on Table (facing down)
|Slightly tilted head
|Body bent forward
|A uniform smile
|Hand on cheek
||Assessing a situation
|Hand on forehead
||Deep thought /Melancholy
|Straight body / brisk motion
|Head down / slow motion / hands to the back
|Steady eye contact
NEGATIVE BODY LANGUAGE SYMBOLS
|Continuously changing positions
|Crushing the teeth
|Palms over mouth
||Trying to avoid
|A bent smile
|Pointing fingers towards someone
|Drumming fingers on the table
|Avoiding eye contact
||Lying / Hiding something
Examples of Body Language in Use:
In order to communicate effectively, and interact better, you can use the following tips for improving body language:
- Making eye contact with someone is important but the impact is more if one can maintain eye contact while doing so. This reflects on the value we give to the other person’s ideology as well as the amount of respect we show towards them. This also makes them comfortable in one’s company while exuding a feeling of warmth towards them.
- Posture is one of the most important physical parameters to master for communicating well. As soon as you get your posture right, you feel a boost of energy and feel a lot better while communication. If your posture is not straight and your shoulders, not able to carry the weight of thoughts, are bent in desperation, you will naturally be more nervous and depressed.
- Maintaining a great head position is one of the things that you can use while improving your communication skills. You can wield more authority as well as be sure that you are being listened to. On the other hand, while expressing a friendly approach, tilt your head to one side so that the other person feels relaxed while talking to you.
- In the normal course one keeps the arms on the side of the body. Easy and outgoing people gesticulate a lot. Quieter ones are less likely to move their arms away from their bodies. The most correct and easy way is to keep the movements of the arms in direct proportion to the body neither very high nor at the sides. Keeping the arms abreast is bad manners.
- Legs are one part of the body which is difficult to control while communicating. Tension and tricky situations tend to give greater movement to them. The only thing that works is to move as little as possible when in such circumstances. While crossing legs also, decorum should be maintained.
- Body angles denote body language. We tend to go closer to people who are either attractive, close to us or with whom we have some kind of rapport. We tend to be stiff with those people whom either we do not know or do not like. When being interviewed we should be careful of maintaining the right angle so as to be respectful towards the interviewer.
- The next physical aspect of communication that you should keep in mind is hand movements. Easy-going people keep their palms upwards, whereas palms facing downwards are seen normally as a sign of aggression and domination. Aggression is also signified by very little movement between the wrist and the forearm.
- In communication, physical distances also play an important role. To keep a proper distance is of the utmost importance. Being very close signifies being forward and standing too far away can be construed as a sign of pride. Do not stand too close to someone and then move away abruptly as this can be seen as violating the personal space of the other person.
- Listening is another key skill when it comes to communicating with others. Wise men always listen more than they talk. We have two ears and a single mouth, and it is advisable that we listen twice as much as we speak.
- Mouth movements are also another very important part of communicating well. Being tight – lipped and pursing one’s lips are different. One signals reticence whereas the other situation can occur if we are holding back something or are afraid to say the wrong thing. Either way one is labeled as being hot- headed.