Improving Your Nonverbal Communication Skills: Step-by-Step Guide
For the most part people try to improve the way they communicate with others by how they speak, however, there is another side – non-verbal communication. It’s estimated that non-verbal communication is responsible for 93% of communication, which means you cannot afford to not pay attention to it whilst you’re trying to improve communication skills.
What is nonverbal communication?
To better understand how to improve non-verbal communication you need to understand what it entails. It includes facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, body movements, posture and a whole lot more.
Many of these are done automatically without realizing yourself in a subconscious manner. However, when you become aware of these nonverbal elements you can become to change them to create the effect that you want.
How to improve non-verbal communication
Now that you can see the importance of non-verbal communication and what it’s about here are some of the top ways of improving it:
When you’re communicating with people you need to face them as it allows you to establish a deeper connection with them. Also if you’re giving a presentation then try to look at the audience as much as possible. Avoid looking at your notes or the presentation screen as much as you can. Practising your material so that you know it well means you can keep your eyes on the audience.
Maintain eye contact
One of the by-products of maintaining regular eye contact is developing a sense of trust with the person you’re communicating with. It also illustrates that you are open to having an open line of communication.
However, don’t go crazy and maintain too much eye contact as that can be counterproductive. It must be spread out and deliver in regular doses in a natural manner. However, by practising you will enable yourself to feel comfortable maintaining eye contact regardless of who you’re communicating with.
However, if you’re interacting with a crowd of people then you can maintain eye contact with different members of the crowd. So scan the room and try to spread the eye contact towards different sections of the audience.
The language used to communicate will differ depending on where you are in the world, but smiling works regardless of your location – it’s universal. A smile is a non-verbal signal to the person that you’re in a happy or good mood and you’re open to having a warm conversation. It will make the other person feel comfortable and more open to have an honest communication with you.
One way of winning people over to your side of a controversial argument is by inducing a sense of warmth into the conversation and smiling is a great way to do that. You need to use a good dose of charm when arguing with people so that you can sway them in the direction that you want.
Tone of your voice
You can get a lot of information about the state of one’s mind by the tone of their voice. Even if they utter just a few words you can learn from the tone of their voice if they are happy, angry, agitated and so on.
Controlling the tone of your own voice allows you to induce certain feelings into the conversation. For example, if you need something done fast and want to express that time is of the essence then you can use the right tone. Next time consider the tone you are using and it might be the reason why you’re not getting the outcome you want.
A firm handshake
When you shake the hand of a person you want to impress a firm handshake is a must. A firm handshake is an indicator that you are alert and present in the room. And it also shows that you are confident. A confident person is one that’s worth listening to, so you need to get this first step right when meeting someone.
Also don’t be scared to have a strong handshake with a female, because the same rules apply. You might be tempted to go for a softer handshake, but that can be counterproductive.
How you’re dressed and present yourself will say a lot to the person you’re communicating with. If you’re in a professional business setting then ensure you look smart and have the appropriate clothing. If you want to be taken seriously then you need to look the part.
However, if you are in a casual atmosphere and don’t want to exuberate a serious feel to your communication then you need to relax your clothing to a more casual wardrobe.
The different tips mentioned above are just some of the different considerations that must be made when considering your non-verbal communication. You’ll see that with practise you’ll get better at not only recognizing the different signals you’re giving off, but also how to change them to match the desired effect.
However, there is an overwhelming number of other nonverbal communication signals that you need to be aware of and constantly learning to improve is the way to go. Once you’re able to master some of these communication signals you can begin to get the outcome of an interaction with a much higher degree of success.
This guest post was authored by Sharon Hooper
Sharon is a marketing specialist and blogger from Manchester, UK. When she has a minute, she loves to share a few of her thoughts about marketing, writing and blogging with you. Currently, she is working as a marketer at the writing service Essayontime. Follow Sharon on Facebook.