Your body language, voice intonation and use of silence can speak louder than the words you use. By improving on your non-verbal communication skills, you can ensure that you are sending the right message to your team.
Communicating Through Your Body Language
Body language includes your posture, facial expression, gestures, and bodily movements. More often than not your team will pay more attention to your body language than to what you are saying. If one’s body language is inconsistent with the verbal message, the verbal message loses credibility.
Body language includes the following aspects:
- Eye contact is one of the most crucial aspects of body language. Steady eye contact indicates that you are paying attention while the lack of eye contact can be viewed as defensiveness, nervousness or social withdrawal.
- Facial expressions can usually be linked to certain emotions. Anger is often revealed by sharp stares, crunched eyebrows and the baring of teeth. Teary eyes and drooping lips usually indicate sadness.
- Posture also plays a critical role in non-verbal communication. Slumping in a chair is often seen as a sign of disrespect and inattention. Walking with one’s head and shoulders down can be interpreted as a sign of nervousness or low self-esteem. Traditionally puffing out one’s chest is interpreted as pride.
- Specific movements are associated with certain messages. Nodding is a sign of agreement and raising fists are normally interpreted as a challenge or sign of anger. Frustration is often indicated by the stomping of feet.
- Physical contact forms part of body language. Handshakes, hugging, slapping and punching all form part of communication.
How You Say Something is Important
The way you deliver information to your team is crucial and forms part of non-verbal communication. A change in tone or inflection can change the way a statement is interpreted.
- Your tone of voice is the way you use changing pitch to convey a message. The same message can be delivered using a rising, dipping or falling intonation. Changes of tone can make a message upbeat or depressing depending on the speaker’s tone. Changes in tone help identify the purpose of a sentence.
- The meaning of a word can change by emphasizing different words or syllables.
- Pace and rhythm place a role in how your team perceives a message. The speed of your speech and the use of pauses can change the meaning of the words spoken. If you speak too quickly your team my find it difficult to understand you but if you speak too slowly they may become bored.
- Volume is important and how softly or loudly you speak matters in communication. A too soft voice can communicate nervousness or lack of assertiveness while a loud voice can communicate anger or aggression.
- Pronunciation and enunciation play a role in how well a message comes across. You need to develop your skills in pronunciation and enunciation to ensure that your team understands you correctly.