Do you ever think about how you communicate? Nonverbal communication represents two-thirds of all communication. What message do you send, without even saying a word?
Non-verbal communication is more than just body language. Only a small percentage of our total brain processes verbal communication. It highlights tone of voice, gaze, touch, physical appearance and more.
Non-verbal communication is vital in both, personal and professional landscapes. I evaluate the people I interact with daily on this level of non-spoken conduct, and find that it plays a big role in the way I conduct business.
The wrong message can be established if the body language that you show does not match a verbal message that you say. Nonverbal communication strengthens a first impression, too. Think about everyday situations, like meeting a prospect or going into a business interview.
Impressions are on formed within the first four seconds of contact and cannot be redone. You only get one shot at a first impression.
Here are three things that you should consider if you want to re-evaluate your level of nonverbal communication:
When you go in for a handshake, be it with a new acquaintance, an employee, a colleague, a client, what is your handshake like?
‘Body language for dummies’ writes about the perfect handshake recipe: “If you want to create a sense of mutual respect and equality, make sure that when you shake hands with another person both your palms are in the vertical position, your fingers are wrapped around one another’s hands and that you apply the same amount of pressure. Your hands should meet in no-man’s land, halfway between your space and the other person’s.”
2. Eye contact
Studies have found that people use their eyes to indicate interest. This includes winking and movements of the eyebrows. Do you keep eye contact or avert gaze?
And here’s something you may not have heard of … pupil size.
The psychology of the eyes is revered as a key note in understanding nonverbal speech. One of the most subtle cues that eyes provide is through the size of the pupils. An article from About.com shares that it’s not only light levels in the environment that control pupil dilation. Sometimes emotions can also cause small changes in pupil size. For example, you may have heard the phase “bedroom eyes” used to describe the look someone gives when they are attracted to another person. Next time you’re speaking with someone that’s staring you square in the eyes, consider not only the gaze you get, but also the blink-speed and pupil size. It’ll discretely tell you more about the inward emotions of your connection.
3. Crossed arms
What do crossed arms symbolize? Crossed arms might indicate that a person is feeling defensive, self-protective, or closed-off.
Think about your next evaluation with an employee. When they speak with you about their role in your company, are their arms crossed? Are they sitting slouched, or upright? Listen not only to their words, but what they’re expressing to you through their body language.
Consider these elements of nonverbal communication. It may change the way you communicate, both in and out of the office.
What forms of body language do notice when communicating?