Communication is more than the words we speak. We often believe in order to connect with another person we must use the right words and phrases. While it’s true our words are important, we can’t ignore the importance of our non-verbal communication in making a connection with others.
Non-Verbal communication is what we convey without using words. It is our facial expressions, our eye contact, and our body language. It includes how we dress and even how we use silence.
The following are non-verbal elements which send strong messages to people we meet (more to follow in a later post).
“The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heard.”–JEROME, A.D. 324-420
One of the best indicators of what a person is thinking, without actually speaking, is their face. The face communicates thoughts more effectively than almost anything else, including words.
Smiles, frowns, furrowed brows, pursed lips, and squinty eyes are but a few of the multitude of expressions by which we convey our thoughts.
Make sure your facial expressions match the words you use. If something is supposed to be enjoyable or funny, smile; if you want to portray sadness, don’t smile. Yes, I know, this seems obvious but you have no idea how many people display no or even the opposite emotion of their words.
“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”― Charlotte Bronte
Looking people in the eye shows them you really want to connect. I’m not suggesting you stare at people because staring makes them uncomfortable. Sustained eye contact, however, punctuated by the occasional glance elsewhere shows interest, respect, value, and intimacy.
Avoiding eye contact communicates mistrust, apathy, or discomfort, particularly in the North American culture. Other parts of the world react differently to eye contact so it is wise to understand if you are speaking to those of a different culture what their norm is.
It’s important to reflect the right message with your eyes.
Question: What is your non-verbal communication saying? Have other people assess how you come across. Make sure the people you ask will tell you honestly what impression you give them. You first have to recognize how and what you do, them you can begin to change of modify if necessary.
Can you recall a time when someone’s non-verbal communication spoke louder than their words? You can leave a comment by clicking here.