Non Verbal Communication
Either consciously or sub-consciously a substantial amount of information can be communicated without the use of words. Gestures, movements, and facial expressions have the power to either add or detract from what we are trying to communicate. Such a large amount of the message that we receive from people is not from their spoken words.
When two people are communicating:
- 7% of the message is likely to come from the actual words that are spoken
- 93% of the message that is received and understood, comes from body language (55%), and tone of voice (38%)The speed, pitch, tone and volume of our voice subtly communicate the importance of our message, our degree of commitment to it and our self-confidence. Clothing and personal grooming can also signal the way we expect others to treat us.
- There are various ways in which you can monitor, understand and strategically convey information through no verbal communication.
- Eye contact
It is important to establish eye contact when speaking with people as direct eye contact suggested that you are engaged and interested. Eye contact however needs to be relaxed and non-confrontational to be effective. There is a fine line between making someone feel heard and important, and making them feel uncomfortable. Try not to stare for a long period of time and keep your face and expression relaxed and open. The person speaking will react positively to feeling like you are giving them your attention; the same goes for when you are addressing a people or a group of people. Direct eye contact communicates confidence, engages your audience and reinforces your words.
Personal space is important to understand and respect. There are few people who this rule of personal space does not apply. Proximity expectations are vary across different cultures so it is important to take note of the subtle actions of the people you are talking to. If they appear uncomfortable step back a little until their body language is relaxed and open to what you are trying to communicate. Family and intimate relationships are the exception to the rule. This proximity varies depending on the emotion that is being conveyed also. When being aggressive people tend to get close in attempt to intimidate the person they are speaking to. Take not of an acceptable space between the people you engage with and you are more likely to have your message conveyed successfully.
- Tones and sounds
The tone of your words also communicates your emotion and thoughts to people. These subtle tones inform others of anger, sarcasm and frustration. It is important to avoid grunting, sighing and speaking in a high pitches of fast voice. Speak with purpose, family and in a tone that is easily received by your audience.
- Facial Expressions
There are five micro expressions that all human beings convey, theses expressions are subconsciously communicated based upon instant emotional reaction. Micro expressions include anger, fear, sadness, disgust, contempt, surprise and happiness. Lasting only a fraction of a second these are not easy to spot and are given subconsciously. It is vital to be aware of all other emotions that you are communicating to people through the expression on your face. Facial expression are universal so it is important to convey expressions of happiness, kindness and friendliness in order to communicate your message.
Much like facial expressions, your body posture is important when conveying whether or not you are engaged or interested in what another people is saying. Moving from foot to foot, looking around, and tapping are signals that communicate impatience and boredom. It is important to be aware of these as generally they occur without thought. Stand up straight, be still and relaxed and you will be able to get your message across with ease.
Copyright of The Pivot Institute 2015