In part two of our series on how to increase your effective connecting skills we will be discussing nonverbal communication. Public speaking is as much about how others read our body language (and how we read theirs) as it is about what we say or how we say it. Everything, from the way you look at the speaker, the way you breathe, how you hold your body, facial expressions and more, can help to convey exactly how you think or feel about those around you.
Effective Connecting Skill #2 – Nonverbal Communication
Have you ever been speaking to someone only to notice that they have their arms crossed or are leaning back in their seats? Odds are if you did then you may have felt someone put off by their nonverbal cues. There is nothing worse than having a conversation with others only to find that they are looking everywhere but at you. The same goes for those with whom you are speaking. People will watch you for nonverbal communication as well. That is why it is important to keep your body language open and engaging.
Improving Your Nonverbal Delivery Skills
Keep your nonverbal signals contextual. Never use a tone that you would use when talking with children when speaking with an adult. Likewise, you should always remember to incorporate the culture of your audience. Some cultures may be put off by someone who is very emphatic when speaking while others may feel that the point is not important if it is not thoroughly emphasized.
Imagine how confusing it would be if someone were telling you “yes” while shaking their head “no.” Always make sure that your body language matches up with what you are saying to your audience. Mixed signals can lead to a great deal of confusion.
Keep your body language positive. Just as animals can sense when something is wrong, people will be able to tell if you are uncomfortable, unhappy, or more simply by your nonverbal cues. No matter how excited, upset, or nervous you may be make sure that you exude an air of confidence and ease. Not only will this help set the other person at ease, it will help you to gain control of your feelings as well.
Improve Your Skills for Reading Nonverbal Cues
Take a close look at those with whom you interact. Remember that all cultures, genders, religions and more have different ways in which they display nonverbal cues. Not only can speakers differ vastly on these points, ones emotional state can also play a huge roll as well.
Spend time out in public simply watching others and how they communicate. Look for the ways in which they convey their messages through the use of body language. Try to notice what sort of nonverbal cues end in a positive interaction when compared to those that do not.
Never take a single nonverbal signal as a predictor for a range of cues. A simply tone, or a loss of eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It is when you examine all the nonverbal cues that an individual exhibits that you will begin to see the whole picture.
Mastering nonverbal communications means being able to control your own while also being able to read the cues of others. By taking time and paying attention, you will soon find that controlling yourself and reading others can come quite naturally.
Please feel free to check back for our next article which will cover Effective Connecting Skill #3 – Stress Management.