Sunday, May 26, 2013

Check Your Nonverbal Communication, BEFORE You Speak!

It’s generally agreed that a significant amount of what is communicated between people is conveyed nonverbally. Research in the 1950s and 1960s established nonverbal communication as an acknowledged science, and today studies continue on the differences among cultures and between sexes in body language: gestures, eye contact, touch, facial expression, posture, space and clothing (what you wear).

Knowledge of how you communicate nonverbally is especially important if you’re a woman. First, let’s get out of the way the fact that a woman, regardless of her culture, is often viewed with sexual overtones by a man. If you accept that premise, you’re wise to consider carefully what you wear when you’re presenting. Equally important is how you stand, gesture, and use your body in talking with a group of men and women.

How you hold yourself and use your body has a lot to do with how commanding and charismatic your presence will be, as well as how powerfully your message will come across to an audience. If you’re uncomfortable with who you are, it will make others uncomfortable too!

Here are a few tips to raise your comfort factor.

  • Align yourself from head to toe. Stand with your feet 12 inches apart and distribute your weight evenly on each foot.
  • Dress should be determined by the image you wish to convey. Are you a woman lawyer in a courtroom? Wear a blue or black suit, Are you a motivational speaker? Wear a red blazer so you’ll become a visual point for your audience.
  • If you’re a speaker on a panel, don’t slouch or hunch over in your chair. Lean into the speaker’s table. Answer questions by looking straight at the questioner, and remember to speak up so you can be heard. 
  • Exude confidence. Remember a time when you gave an impressive presentation. Recall that moment and carry that feeling with you. Your innate body language will help convey conviction to your message.

If you practice articulating your confidence nonverbally, you’ll capture your audience before you say a word!

Have any insight or questions about nonverbal communication? Put it in the comments!

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