Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Education

 BNI Educational Topic:       Non-Verbal Communication     8/21/2012

Education Coordinator:  Nan Nally-Seif,  LCSW, TEP

These ideas came from an article on the website Helpguide.org “Improving your non-verbal skills and reading body language” by Jeanne Segal Ph.D., Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D.

Definition of non-verbal communication- It is “a vital form of communication.  It is a natural unconscious language that broadcasts our true feelings and intentions and clues us into feelings and intentions of those around us”.

Some say 50-80% of our communications is non-verbal.

Messages don’t stop when we stop talking.  Even when you are silent you are still communication non-verbally.

When our verbal and non-verbal communication, do not match we can give mixed messages which can confuse the listener.  Frequently the listener or receiver will choose the non-verbal message.  When verbal and non-verbal communications do not match they can also create 1) tension,  2) mistrust and  3) confusion.

If non-verbal communication matches our verbal communication it can increase 1) trust, 2) clarity and 3) rapport. 

Non-verbal communication can:

1)    repeat the message

2)    contradict the message

3)    substitute the message

4)    compliment the message

5)    accent or underscore the message.

Aspects of non-verbal communication that we can look for:

1)    facial –  unexpressive or emotionally present, smiling or frowning

2)    body movements –  relaxed or sitting stiffly, posture leaning forward or away

3)    gestures –  with hands or crossed arms

4)    eye contact –  intense, look away, intimidating, uncomfortable, disinterested

5)    touch – appropriate to the situation or it makes you feel uncomfortable

6)    tone of voice – warm, confident or strained

7)    how we relate to the space around us – take up to much or very constricted

8)    intensity –  flat, cool, disinterested, appropriate melodramatic

9)    timing – easy flow of information or responses come too quickly or too slowly

Successful non-verbal communication

It depends on your ability to manage stress.  When stressed:

1)    we can misread others

2)    we can send confusing messages

3)    we can lapse into old non-productive behavior

4)    we can affect others emotions and responses

It is important to manage our stress in order to have effective non-verbal communication.

Reading others non-verbal communication:

1)    pay attention to inconsistencies

2)    look at all signals being given

3)    trust your gut reaction

Questions of the week:

1)    What  type of non-verbal communication helps you in business?

2)    What aspect of your non-verbal communication do you want to modify?