How to make the most of nonverbal communication27 Mar 2015
Do you ever run into someone who simply won’t stop talking? Be it in an informal meeting out and about or in the professional environment, chances are that there a few people in your life that just love the sound of their own voice.
Understanding these people can often be easy – as they’ll usually be more than happy to tell you their life stories. However, there is a real knack in ‘saying’ things with your body language and nonverbal communication.
Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you need to explain something without vocalising your point:
You, yourself and eye
The old adage goes that the eyes are the window to the soul. Whether you buy into that or not – as it is a bit sappy after all – there is a lesson that can be learned from it.
Making prolonged eye contact with others is a linchpin of nonverbal communication. While it’s important not to stare, intervals of eye contact of four to five seconds can help build trust between you and those you’re engaging with.
Another key component of effective nonverbal communication is knowing how close you can get to someone without making them uncomfortable. No one wants their personal space violated, so finding the limits must be done tactfully.
If it’s a jovial conversation, positioning yourself close to someone will show that you’re being warm and open. Moreover, if you’re managing conflict of any kind, taking a step back and disengaging from any party who is particularly aggrieved can help cool things off.
You can add a lot to any interaction through the expressions that accompany what you’re trying to convey.
Facial expressions in particular are important as after all, they transcend language and can easily be universally understood. While smiling all the time may come across as false, your nonverbal expressions and nuances can often be the difference between endearing others to you or coming off as cold and disinterested.