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What is non-verbal communication? Basically, it’s everything you do that isn’t verbal. For example, how you listen, facial expressions, posture, expression, tone of voice, and anything that sends a message when you aren’t speaking. Non-verbal communication plays a huge role in how we communicate and how we read and respond to others. For example this is a way we can tell when people are lying to us and it’s also what separates an amazing public speaker from a boring one. Below are some ways you will learn how to improve your non-verbal communication so you can share your ideas and messages more effectively.
In “The Importance of Effective Communication” Dr. Edward Wertheim shares five roles non-verbal communication plays in our daily conversations.
1)Non-verbal communication helps with repetition, it repeats and strengthens what you’re saying.
2)It can be contradictory, sometimes what we’re saying doesn’t match our facial expressions and body language, and that can help to tell when someone is lying. 3)
3)Non-verbal communication can be a substitution, and you can show something rather than saying it out loud.
4)It can also be complementing, and connect with what you’re saying verbally.
5)Finally, it can also accent what you’re saying, such as hitting your fist against a table when you’re really angry.
Non-verbal communication is something we do all the time, without even really thinking about it! I move my hands a lot when I talk, especially when I’m on a stage. I move around a lot, I wave my hands around, and I make crazy expressions. This is something that people notice and remember about me. When people do these things they’re more fun to watch. (However, we need to be careful and not let it become a distraction and take away from our message.) We may not even notice specifically what they’re doing, but it does register and we read the expression behind it.
Are you ready to improve your non-verbal communication? First we’ll look at intonation and inflection, which is the way you’re saying things. Controlling the way you say things will help the way what you’re saying is perceived. If you sound sarcastic or bored when talking about something you want people to start doing, they probably are not going to do it and will think you’re not being genuine.
The second thing is eye contact. I used to struggle a lot with eye contact back when I was in the beginning of high school, I rarely ever looked anyone in the eyes. My parents finally told me that I had to make eye contact with people, because it shows that you’re actually listening to them and that you’re engaged in what they’re saying. If you’re looking away it can come across as if you don’t care about the people you’re talking or listening to.
Posture is another aspect of non-verbal communication you should be aware of. This is another thing I learned about around the beginning of high school or late middle school. Back then when I was talking to people I used to cross my arms a lot, but it sends a message that you aren’t interested in other people’s messages. To other people it may seem like you are blocking other people’s messages from entering your heart or mind. When you drop your arms you come across as more accepting to what other people are saying.