Experts agree: at least 70% of your communication is conveyed nonverbally. This fact makes nonverbal communication crucial for a productive workplace. It’s not enough to be mindful of what you say; you must also be observant of how you say it. Your tone, posture, gestures, etc., are all communication devices. Your body constantly transmits nonverbal cues that may not align with what you want to communicate.
For this reason, nonverbal communication training is critical for workplace success. Keep reading to learn the importance of nonverbal communication in the workplace.
Why Nonverbal Communication Matters
Your nonverbal communication indicates what you think and feel. How you move, your body positioning, how you look at or react to someone, etc., are all communicating on your behalf. These responses convey to others how much you care, whether you’re being honest or if you have their best interest in mind. You want alignment between what you say and signal non-verbally; this congruence creates trust and rapport.
When there’s a misalignment between what you say and what you communicate via your body language, it creates tension and mistrust. And this is not a good foundation to build any relationship, let alone a business relationship.
Some nonverbal communication includes:
- Gestures: Hand, arm, and head movements (and other mannerisms) that help us to convey thoughts and ideas.
- Eye contact: Eye contact helps create trust and rapport. It also allows others to see you as more confident if you can maintain it appropriately (but don’t overdo it; too much eye contact can come off as creepy or even hostile).
- Voice tone and inflection: Your voice tone can generate many emotions (happiness, fear, excitement, rage, etc.) As such, it is an excellent way to communicate ideas to others.
- Posture: Are you sluggish and hunched over? Or are you standing tall with your head up, chest out, and shoulders back? How you hold yourself speaks more than your words ever could.
- Facial expressions: Our facial expressions during conversation communicate what we feel before we even open our mouths.
3 Nonverbal Communication Tips for Teams and Managers
Teams and managers must work together to improve their nonverbal communication skills. Here are a few tips to get started:
1. Use the Right Tone
Your voice tone conveys what you’re feeling at the moment. Whether you’re stressed, anxious, or fearful, you will communicate those feelings in your voice without the proper awareness. Once you learn to manage your tone, you can have more productive conversations with your team (and vice versa). Start by proactively thinking about the way you want to respond, and let that outcome guide your tonality.
2. Be Conscious of Facial Expressions
Consistency of your facial expressions is essential. It helps you respond appropriately to discussions and creates a sense of presence. This then creates a “boomerang” effect, prompting others to respond in the same manner. As a result, a cohesive conversation develops as both parties establish rapport.
3. Maintain Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact may seem obvious, but many managers struggle with it. When used correctly, eye contact establishes connection and rapport. One way to ensure your team feels you’re present during those early morning meetings is maintaining eye contact.
What’s Next? Upgrade Your Nonverbal Communication Skills
Communication is everything. And since so much of it is performed nonverbally, learning the subtext of what’s being said is critical to a cohesive work environment. At Negotiations Ninja, we are influence and communication experts in delivering the world’s most engaging negotiation training. So contact us today to upgrade your nonverbal communication skills.