Sure, your verbal and written communication skills are excellent, but are your nonverbal communication skills up to par? Several studies have confirmed that nonverbal behaviour make up bulk of our daily interaction. It’s time that you pay more attention to nonverbal cues that you might not even be paying attention to.
1. Watch your body language.
The way you make eye contact, your body movements, the tone of your voice—all of these unspoken movements convey something. It all starts with paying attention and knowing that it influences your actions.
2. Establish eye contact.
When talking to someone, make eye contact. People tend to avoid eye contact when they’re disinterested or are hiding something. However, there’s a fine line between talking to someone with eye contact, and starting at them too intently. The latter may seem too confrontational or intimidating. To be safe, have four- to five-second intervals during intervals.
3. Notice your tone of voice.
Your tone of voice gives an immediate impression to the listener. It can easily show your anger, disinterest, or enthusiasm. Use the tone of voice consistent with the message or impression you’re trying to give. If you want to show that you are genuinely interested in something, be more enthusiastic and animated with your tone of voice.
4. Observe inconsistent behaviors.
Is someone saying something positive yet shows a disinterested tone of voice? Perhaps they’re not so happy after all. It’s not necessary that there be total harmony in one’s verbal and nonverbal communication signals, but if the two are totally opposite, then that probably means there’s an inner conflict on the part of the speaker.
5. Understand the context.
Just as the choice of words matter when you’re either in a formal or informal context, nonverbal cues matter as well. Consider the formality of a person’s nonverbal cues in a formal setting. Being too formal in an informal setting may not be entirely a good thing—that means the person hasn’t warmed up to you.
6. Ask questions.
If you want to seek clarification regarding a person’s nonverbal signals, don’t hesitate to ask a question or clarification regarding what the person really meant. It doesn’t mean that you should ask precisely what a particular nonverbal signal means. Simply rephrase the statement the way you understood it, taking the verbal and nonverbal signals into consideration.