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Non-Verbal Communication

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 “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?



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Effective Communication

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Education

BNI Educational Topic –     Effective Communication                 8/14/12

By Nan Nally-Seif, LCSW, TEP

Today’s topic is effective communication. Some of the following information came from

Good communication: 1) informs 2) persuades and 3) builds good will

Definition of communication:  The process of conveying or transmitting a message from one person to another. 

The four parts of the communication process are the:

1)  Sender – the person who sends the message.

2)  Receiver – the person who actively listens to the message.

3)  Message – what is said.

4)  Channel – how communication is sent, ex: in person, electronically.


An important point to remember in effective communication is that the sender should always solicit feedback from the receiver.  This helps the sender know if the receiver has listened actively to what has been sent and has received the message correctly.

Guidelines of Effective Communication:

1) Have clarity of purpose.  It is important to plan what is going to be said.

2) Focus on needs of the receiver. What is said should be of value to the receiver. If the sender is aware of receiver’s needs, the receiver will be more receptive to the message.

3) Engage in active listening. Active listening is not “turning off” or focusing on how you want to respond while a person is sending a message. This type of listening should be used by both the sender and receiver.

4) Controlling emotions is vital to effective communication. One needs to create a positive and respectful atmosphere in your dialogue.

5) In effective communication be aware of your tone of voice and your choice of language. The way in which something is said, is critical to effective communication.

6) The sender should be aware of his/her own assumptions. The sender should base the communication on facts and not what he/she thinks is correct.

7) Be aware of social and cultural background of the receiver. If not done the receiver could find the message offensive.

8) There is a need to avoid ambiguity in your messages as well as a need to be clear and concise. It’s important to avoid unclear language and unnecessary details. However, one needs to include the necessary facts and details so receiver gets the complete message.

        Effective communication does not just happen. Effective communication needs effort.


Question of the week: What do you need to work on to improve your communication?



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