It’s safe to say that during our daily interactions in the workplace, most of us censor our true thoughts and feelings while we are speaking to one another. Yet, one thing over which we have substantially less control is our body language. Throughout the day, we are continuously emitting a variety of non-verbal signals that unconsciously convey what we are really thinking and feeling.
In fact, we are constantly sending and receiving cues whether we are talking – or not. In today’s world in which businesses are relying more heavily on nonverbal means of communicating, we should be careful of the distinct message our nonverbal cues carry. Even in professional settings, our nonverbal signals should be reflective of our spoken words. Anything to the contrary can create an atmosphere of confusion as well as distrust.
The key to being an effective communicator lies not only in the spoken word (verbal code) but also in the use and interpretation of nonverbal signals. It is important that we become more acutely aware of the different types of nonverbal cues along with their potential effects upon our coworkers and clients. This can significantly help both employees and managers express what they truly intended, establish a better connection with their peers, and enhance their overall working relationships.
Here are 10 non-verbal cues of which we need to be mindful:
- Body posture: How we position your body can “speak” volumes
- Clothing: What we wear can impact others’ perceptions
- Eye movement: Where we focus our eye contact demonstrates our attention level
- Facial expressions: How we physically display our thoughts and feelings
- Intonation: How our voice rises and falls (pitch)
- Space: How much physical space we need during interactions
- Timing and pace: How we structure our time and speed of our interaction(s)
- Tone of voice: How loudly or softly we say things
- Touch: How we use physical touch to emphasize our verbal message
- Sounds: What noises we make to reinforce our verbal codes
Understanding the large role that these ten nonverbal cues play in our professional communications can greatly facilitate our interactions with our own colleagues and clients and ensure a healthier work environment.