Good communication skills can help you both in your personal and professional life. While the skills of verbal and written communications are important, research has shown that nonverbal behaviors They constitute a large percentage of our daily interpersonal communication.
How can we improve our nonverbal communication skills?
The following tips will help you learn to read other people's nonverbal cues and improve your own ability to communicate effectively.
1. Pay close attention to gestures
People can communicate information in many ways, so pay attention to things like eye contact, gestures, posture, body movements, and the tone of voice. All these signals can convey important information that is not said in words.
If you get used to paying more attention to other people's unconscious behaviors, you can improve your own ability to communicate nonverbally.
2. Focus on the tone of voice when speaking
The tone of voice can convey a great deal of information, ranging from enthusiasm to disinterest or even anger. Notice how your tone of voice affects the responses of others, if you notice that these are not what you expected, try to use the best tone, for example to emphasize the ideas you want to communicate. If you want to show a real interest in something, express your enthusiasm using a more lively tone of voice, etc.
3. Look for inconsistent behaviors
If someone's words do not fit their nonverbal behaviors, more attention should be paid to the signs. For example, a person might say that she is happy with a frown or looking at the floor, which tells us that she is not telling the truth.
Research has shown that when words do not match nonverbal cues, people tend to ignore what has been said and to focus on the involuntary expressions of moods, thoughts and emotions.
4. Use the signals to make communication more effective and meaningful
Remember that both verbal and nonverbal language together are valuable when transmitting a message. That's why you should improve your oral communication through use of body language, so that it reinforces and supports what you are saying. This can be especially useful when making presentations or when speaking to a large group of people.
5. Beware of eye contact
When people look directly at others in the eyes, it may seem that they are evading or trying to hide something. On the other hand, excess eye contact may appear to be looking for a confrontation or is intended to intimidate the other. Eye contact is an important part of communication, but we must also remember that healthy contact does not mean staring into someone's eyes without stopping. Some experts recommend that this type of communication be done with eye contact intervals lasting between four and five seconds intermittently.
6. Don't be afraid to ask questions about nonverbal cues
If you are confused about another person’s nonverbal cues, don't be afraid to ask questions. A good idea is to repeat your interpretation of what has been said and ask for clarification. An example of could be: "So what you are saying is that ..."
7. Evaluate the signals you receive together
A single gesture by itself can mean several things, or even nothing at all. The key to the correct reading of nonverbal behavior is the search for groups of signals that reinforce something concrete. If too much emphasis is placed on a single signal among many, it is possible to reach an erroneous conclusion about what a person is trying to communicate.
8. Consider the context
When you are communicating with others, always keep in mind the situation and context in which such communication occurs. Some situations require more formal behaviors that could be interpreted very differently in any other environment.
Take into consideration nonverbal behaviors that are not appropriate for the context in which you are. On the other hand, if you are trying to improve your own nonverbal communication, focus on your signals match the level of formality that is necessary in each situation.
9. Be careful! that the signals can be misunderstood
It is popularly believed thata firm handshake indicates a strong personality, while a weak handshake seems to us a lack of strength of character. This example illustrates an important point about the possibility of misinterpretation of nonverbal cues. A soft handshake in some cases could indicate something completely different. So remember to look for the whole behavior. The general behavior of a person is more representative than a single isolated gesture.
10. Practice everything you can
Some people seem to have a special ability to the use of effective nonverbal communication and the correct interpretation of the signals of others. But in reality this ability can be enhanced by careful attention to nonverbal behavior and practice in interpreting different types of nonverbal communication with others. By forcing you to perceive the nonverbal behavior of others, in addition to practicing your own skills, you can substantially improve your communication skills.
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