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How many times have you heard, “It’s not what you said but how you said it”?Control your non-verbal cues by starting with slightly longer eye contact and a solid handshake.
According to scientists it’s true; how we say something can be more impactful that what we say. We are constantly sending messages about what we think and how we feel without saying a word. And possibly sending the loudest messages without saying a word.
These nonverbal cues carry between 65% and 93% more meaning than the actual words spoken, especially when the message is emotional. This means your body movements, tone of voice, inflections, facial expressions, details of dress, and even choice and movement of objects communicate your feelings.
So how do you take charge of conversation even when you’re listening?
10 Ways to Improve your Non-Verbal Communication Skills
1. Good eye contact – when speaking with someone, look them in the eye at least two to three seconds before looking away. If you simply glance or your eyes dart, it conveys insecurity, anxiety or avoidance.
2. A confident handshake – in business it’s critical to have a good one. Use a full palm-to-palm contact, shake up and down a couple of times, smile, and look them in the eye.
3. Effective gestures – punctuate your words with natural, lively and appropriate movements that match your message. Try not to fidget as it distracts the listener.
4. Dress the part – my mom always said, “Clothes don’t make the man, but they make a helluva difference.” Simply put, dress the part and you’ll get the part, so if you want to be respected, dress as though you deserve it.
5. Authoritative posture and presence – take up space; use the arms on the chair or stand with your feet a bit apart; stand taller with squared shoulders. This projects an air of confidence, authority and energy.
6. Appropriate facial expressions – if you want to convey energy and enthusiasm, let your expression show that you’re enthusiastic. If you’re listening, then look like you’re listening and not bored or uninterested.
7. Begin interactions – be the first to make eye contact, offer a hand to shake or make the call. Others will respect your initiative to get things done.
8. Use an appropriate tone of voice – it’s critical because it sends emotional meaning and attitude. Understand how your voice tone, pacing, pausing, volume, and inflection all communicate messages. Be sure they’re the messages you want said.
9. Give your full attention – when speaking with someone, actually point your toes and square your shoulders toward them. This shows you’re focusing on them during the conversation, conveying respect and honor.
10. Respond to others’ nonverbal cues – pay attention to their voice tone and body language. Listen with your eyes; others will give you clues about how they’re feeling as you speak. If you respond appropriately, you’ll project confidence and show a high level of empathy and sensitivity for your listener.
Now’s your chance to take control of what you say even when silent. Since you know your loudest messages are sent with non-verbal language, why not project the most confident and authoritative you possible?