Communication has a lot more do than just words. Implicit messages are a crucial part of interpersonal communication. These are ‘meanings’ that are expressed nonverbally (e.g. through tone or pitch of voice, facial expressions, gestures, the distance between the communicators, and body language).
Non-verbal enriches your communication in various ways. For instance, it reinforces or modifies the meaning of your words, conveys emotional state information, reinforce relationships between people, signal feedback and regulate communication flow. By enhancing your non-verbal communication skills, you’ll be able to communicate much more effectively!
Here are some important non-verbal tips that will definitely spruce up your communication.
- Facial Expressions – the human face is highly expressive. It’s able to express numerous emotions without you uttering a word about it. Remember that time when other people said that you look sad? Or those days when happiness was beaming all over your face? Your face has the capability to universally express emotions of happiness, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust and fear. By learning to blend in facial expressions in your everyday communications, you can become a more effective communicator.
- Body Movements – you probably have come across a person who looked lazy just from the way they sat or stood! Body movements such as standing up, sitting, walking, holding your head communicates a great deal about you!
- Eye Contact – eye contact is a specifically important form of nonverbal communication. The way to maintain eye contact with someone you’re communicating with may communicate many things, ranging from hostility, affection, interest and attraction. Eye contact also helps maintain conversational flow and gauge the other person’s response.
- Gestures – gestures are part of who you are. All of us have learnt to use gestures to beckon, point, wave, and do a lot other things without uttering a single word. Unlike facial expressions, the meanings of gestures can greatly vary across religious and cultural backgrounds. When using gestures, you should be careful so that you are not misinterpreted.
- Space – you probably have felt uncomfortable speaking to someone because they were standing too close to you. When this happens, you get the feeling that the other person is invading your space. As human beings, we all need personal space, although the extent to which varies based on culture, closeness and situations. Physical space is also used to communicate other things such as dominance, aggression, and intimacy and attention.
- Touch – touch is a common part of everyday communication. You tend to shake people’s hands at your place of work or school, and use this non-verbal method even more when you’re at home with people you love. Think about the message that a weak handshake is likely to send, or a warm bear hug, a timid shoulder tap, a reassuring pat on the head, or a controlling arm grip.
- Voice – when it comes to the voice as an element of non-verbal communication, it’s not just simply what you say, but rather how you say it. When you say something, other people are going to listen to your words, and more importantly, read your voice. Things that should be paid attention to include the loudness of the voice, the pace, timing, inflection and tone. Sounds that convey understanding such as ‘uh-huh’ also count a lot. Think about how someone’s voice is able to indicate anger, confidence, affection and sarcasm.
How you communicate through nonverbal signals such as body language greatly affects how others perceive you. They may like and respect you from it, or feel distrust in you. Many people are still sending confusing or negative signals, without even knowing it. It is important that you learn how you can use body language and non-verbal communication to your advantage, regardless your age or situation in life.