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?