Communication is crucial for building and maintaining a successful workplace. When you and your team communicate well and understand one another, you work together, execute solutions, and achieve goals. While we have previously offered guidance on verbal communication within the workplace, communication is infinitely nuanced and cannot be covered in a single blog post. Nonverbal communication is every bit as important as verbal communication. In fact, it can sometimes be more important because it shows emotional cues and attitudes.
What Is Nonverbal Communication?
Nonverbal communication is any number of unspoken clues into what another person is actually thinks or tries to express. These include eye contact, facial expressions, posture, body movement, and even the way a person dresses. We often unconsciously say more than we intend to—but that is not necessarily a bad thing. When you become aware of your nonverbal communication, you can hone it to create more effective communication.
The eyes are windows to the soul. Eyes give off more nonverbal cues than almost anything else, and it is important to watch a person’s eyes when you communicate. Maintaining eye contact shows confidence and helps the other person understand you are giving them your full attention. Be careful with maintaining too much eye contact, however; a conversation can become uncomfortable if you stare.
Facial expressions are the most frequently noticed nonverbal cues—in part because we spend so much time making eye contact. Facial expressions tell your conversation partner about your internal feelings on the matter, from happy to bored to angry.
How you hold yourself can cause people to make assumptions about your character and the message you are trying to send. Proper posture depends on the situation you are in. If you are having a comfortable conversation, you want to maintain a more relaxed posture. However, if you’re having a serious conversation, you want a confident, upright posture.
Body movements are both subtle and unsubtle ways of communicating. Your hand, arm, foot, and leg movements are especially important. Be aware of the movements you make, gesticulating or fidgeting, and try to understand the emotions you convey through them. Gesticulating too much communicates excitement or distress, whereas well-timed gesticulations help emphasize points and make you seem friendlier and more confident. Fidgeting is a loud and clear sign of boredom, and often we do not realize we do it.
Body movements are particularly important when giving a presentation. To ensure you make the most of your movements, practice your presentation beforehand in front of a camera, then watch yourself to see how you move and what improvements need to be made.
Your clothing speaks volumes about you as a person and your emotional state, and people assume things about you based on what you choose to wear. Always choose to dress appropriately for the environment you work in. If uncertain of how your clothing choices fit within the environment, take cues from other individuals in the workplace who excel in communication and in their careers.
Nonverbal communication skills are crucial within all parts of our lives, especially the workplace. Candidates in particular need to hone nonverbal communication to excel in interviews and within the workplace. Our JDC Group recruitment specialists help you cultivate nonverbal communication skills on your way to new opportunity. If you’d like to learn more about improving your nonverbal communication or the job opportunities available, make an appointment with a recruitment specialist today.