Communicating with people can be challenging at times. Communicating with others involves more than just words. There are messages that can nonverbal or verbal. Most people aren’t even aware that they’re communicating a nonverbal message to others when having a conversation.
Being aware of nonverbal messages that you may be sending to those around you is important. It’s also wise to understand what others may be saying nonverbally as well. These kinds of silent messages can consist of several things:
- Body Language – How a person moves and acts.
- Facial Expressions – Eyes, mouth, and other facial features help express attitudes and even hidden feelings.
- Posture – Slouching or standing straight can indicate a person’s level of attention and focus.
- Eye Contact – Eye contact can help gage emotions, and some assimilate it the level of trustworthiness.
- Gestures – Hand movements, and shoulder shrugs can convey messages.
- Signs – Symbols, words, pictures.
- Clothing – Sweatpants versus slacks contain different meanings within the appearance.
- Tone of Voice – How one says “thank you” can mean the difference between being sincere or not.
- Physical Space – How you set up your space can give people a perception of whether or not you’re open for conversations.
Being aware of all of this is helpful to you in all aspects of life. From relationships, to first encounters. Nonverbal communication is a powerful tool if used correctly. You’ll be perceived as more empathetic if your nonverbal skills improve. Lastly matching your nonverbal communication to what your verbal communication says will help increase people’s trust in you.
Understanding what you’re nonverbally communicating can help you in all aspects of your life. At work you can be more empathetic to co-workers that may not like you in their bubble. They could be trying to communicate with you nonverbally, and you just haven’t noticed it. The ability to notice nonverbal cues is a useful tool to have in your belt.