Nonverbal Communication in Business


There are five key elements that can make or break your attempt at successful nonverbal communication in business:

Let's examine each nonverbal element in turn to see how we can maximise your potential to communicate effectively...

Eye contact

Good eye contact helps your audience develop trust in you, thereby helping you and your message appear credible. Poor eye contact does exactly the opposite.

So what IS 'good' eye contact?

People rely on visual clues to help them decide on whether to attend to a message or not. If they find that someone isn't 'looking' at them when they are being spoken to, they feel uneasy.

So it is a wise business communicator that makes a point of attempting to engage every member of the audience by looking at them.

Now, this is of course easy if the audience is just a handful of people, but in an auditorium it can be a much harder task. So balance your time between these three areas:

  • slowly scanning the entire audience,

  • focusing on particular areas of your audience (perhaps looking at the wall between two heads if you are still intimidated by public speaking), and

  • looking at individual members of the audience for about five seconds per person.

Looking at individual members of a large group can be 'tricky' to get right at first.

Equally, it can be a fine balancing act if your audience comprises of just one or two members -- spend too much time looking them in the eyes and they will feel intimidated, stared at, 'hunted down'.

So here's a useful tip: break your eye-to-eye contact down to four or five second chunks.

That is, look at the other person in blocks that last four to five seconds, then look away. That way they won't feel intimidated.

Practice this timing yourself, away from others. Just look at a spot on the wall, count to five, then look away. With practice you will be able to develop a 'feel' for how long you have been looking into your audience member's eyes and intuitively know when to look away and focus on another person or object.

When focusing on individual members in a large meeting or auditorium, try and geographically spread your attention throughout the room. That is, don't just focus your personal gaze (as distinct from when you are scanning the room or looking at sections of the room) on selected individuals from just one part of the room. Unless you are specifically looking to interact with a particular person at that moment of your presentation, select your individual eye-contact audience members from the whole room.

Gestures

Most of us, when talking with our friends, use our hands and face to help us describe an event or object - powerful nonverbal aids.

We wave our arms about, turn our hands this way and that, roll our eyes, raise our eyebrows, and smile or frown.

Yet many of us also, when presenting to others in a more formal setting, 'clam up'.

Our audience of friends is no different from our business audience - they all rely on our face and hands (and sometimes legs, feet and other parts of us!) to 'see' the bigger, fuller picture.

It is totally understandable that our nervousness can cause us to 'freeze up', but is is in our and our communication's best interests if we manage that nervousness, manage our fear of public speaking, and use our body to help emphasise our point.

I found that by joining a local www.toastmastersa.org/" target="_blank">Toastmasters International club I was rapidly able to learn how to 'free up my body' when presenting to others.

Movement

Ever watch great presenters in action - men and women who are alone on the stage yet make us laugh, cry and be swept along by their words and enthusiasm?

Watch them carefully and you'll note that they don't stand rigidly in one spot. No, they bounce and run and stroll and glide all around the stage.

Why do they do that?

Because they know that we human beings, men in particular, are drawn to movement.

As part of man's genetic heritage we are programmed to pay attention to movement. We instantly notice it, whether we want to or not, assessing the movement for any hint of a threat to us.

This, of course, helps explain why many men are drawn to the TV and seem transfixed by it. It also helps explain why men in particular are almost 'glued' to the TV when there is any sport on. All that movement!

But to get back to the stage and you on it... ensure that any movement you make is meaningful and not just nervous fidgetting, like rocking back and forth on your heels or moving two steps forward and back, or side to side.

This is 'nervous movement' and your nervousness will transmit itself to your audience, significantly diluting the potency of your communication and message.

So move about the stage when you can - not just to keep the men in the audience happy, but to help emphasise your message!

Posture

There are two kinds of 'posture' and it is the wise communicator that manages and utilizes both.

Posture 1

The first type of 'posture' is the one we think of intuitively-the straight back versues the slumped shoulders; the feet-apart confident stance verses the feet together, hand-wringing of the nervous; the head up and smiling versus the head down and frowing.

And every one of the positions we place the various elements of our body in tells a story-a powerful, nonverbal story.

For example, stand upright, shoulders straight, head up and eyes facing the front. Wear a big smile. Notice how you 'feel' emotionally.

Now-slump your shoulders, look at the floor and slightly shuffle your feet. Again, take a not of your emotional state.

Notice the difference?

Your audience surely will, and react to you and your message accordingly.

A strong, upright, positive body posture not only helps you breath easier (good for helping to calm nerves!) but also transmits a message of authority, confidence, trust and power.

If you find yourself challenged to maintain such a posture, practice in front of a mirror, or better yet join a speaking club like www.toastmastersa.org/champion/index.html">Toastmasters International.

Posture 2

The second type of 'posture' comes from your internal mental and emotional states.

You can have great body posture but without internal mental and emotional posture your words will sound hollow to your audience.

For example, the used car salesman at 'Dodgy Brothers Motors' might have great body posture and greet you with a firm handshake, a steady gaze and a friendly smile. But if in his heart he is seeing you as just another sucker then sooner or later his internal conflict between what he says and what he really thinks will cause him to 'trip up'.

His body will start betraying his real, underlying intentions and you'll start to feel uncomfortable around him, even if you can't figure out why.

But, if that same used car salesman had a genuine desire to help you find the right car for you, and he puts your needs before his own, then his words and actions will remain congruent (in harmony) with his underlying intentions and you will trust him, even though you might not be able to identify why.

I have seen some supposed 'self help' gurus who don't actually practice what they preach. Consequently their words ring hollow to me and their books, cds, dvds and training materials remain unpurchased.

I have met salesmen and women who don't actually make the money they claim to make in their 'fabulous business opportunity', and while their words are practiced and polished, and their body posture is 'perfect', their words ooze like honeyed poison frm their lips and I remain unconvinced.

This second type of 'posture' is fundamentally tied to truth and honesty. It is about 'walking the talk' and being who you say you are.

It's about not trying to sell something you don't believe in or use yourself. It's about not trying to pass yourself off as an expert when all you've ever done is read a book on the subject.

It's all about making sure that your words and your intentions are underpinned by truth and honesty. Because all of us, no matter how polished a presenter we might be, are at the mercy of our body and its ability to 'tell the truth' in spite of what our lips might utter. Nonverbal clues rule!

Written communication

I could spend a lifetime writing about the art of written communication.

There is an art (and also a science) that can be learnt with diligence and practice. To write too formally; to write too informally; to write too briefly; to write too lengthily...

My first suggestion would be to avail yourself of one of the following three books, each of which is absolutely brilliant at giving you the skills and insights into effective business writing:

  • The Business Style Handbook: An A-to-Z Guide for Writing on the Job with Tips from Communications Experts at the Fortune 500 by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene

  • The Elements of Business Writing: A Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly

  • Effective Business Writing: Strategies, Suggestions and Examples by Maryann V. Piotrowski

From persuasive memos to complaint letters, sales letters to executive summaries -- these exceedingly useful guides help you to write clearly and in an appropriate format, style and tone. Each book has numerous examples that show how to overcome writer's block, organize messages for maximum impact, achieve an easy-to-read style, find an efficient writing system and much more.

In conclusion...

There are five key elements that can make or break your attempt at successful nonverbal business communication:

Nonverbal communication in a business setting requires not only recognition of these elements, but confidence in meeting their challenges.

Good luck and remember to communicate with passion!

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination. Lee Hopkins can show you how to communicate better for better business results. At www.hopkins-business-communication-training.com/">Hopkins-Business-Communication-Training.com you can find the secrets to communication success.


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Forbes

How To Give The Best Virtual Presentation
Forbes
What are some good tips for giving a memorable in-person or video presentation? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by David Berman, ...



Gulf Times

UPDATE 2-Turkish lira firms against dollar ahead of Albayrak presentation
Reuters
ISTANBUL, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira rallied 3 percent on Thursday ahead of a presentation by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak to investors, shrugging off U.S. comments ruling out the removal of steel tariffs on Turkey even if it frees a U.S ...
Turkish lira rallies ahead of Albayrak presentationGulf Times

all 4,598 news articles »


Florida Recorder

SFL - Invitation to Presentation of Q2 2018 Results - NASDAQ.com
Nasdaq
Ship Finance International Limited plans to release its preliminary financial results for the second quarter of 2018 on Wednesday, August 22, 2018...
SFL - Invitation to Presentation of Q2 2018 ResultsMarkets Insider

all 47 news articles »


Ovid Therapeutics Announces Phase 2 STARS Topline Data Accepted for Presentation at American Academy of Child ...
Nasdaq
... Ovid Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:OVID), a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing medicines that transform the lives of people with rare neurological diseases, today announced that an abstract on OV101 was accepted for poster presentation ...

and more »


artnet News

The National Portrait Gallery Plans a Special Presentation to Honor Late Music Legend Aretha Franklin
artnet News
Aretha Franklin has died at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer, at home in Detroit. The beloved singer, who won 18 Grammy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In honor of ...

and more »


KXLY Spokane

Palouse Pathways and WSU team up for presentation on paying for college
KXLY Spokane
Pullman High School families are invited to learn how to find money for college and navigate the financial aid process at a free presentation from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the evening of August 27 at Pullman High School. Brian Dixon, the Assistant ...



Grazing management presentation will be held in Salina
Salina Journal
Farmers and other members of the public will have the opportunity to learn how grazing management can improve soil health during a presentation Friday, Sept. 21 at the K-State Polytechnic Campus in Salina. The featured presenter will be Jim Gerrish of ...



Seeking Alpha

Godrej Consumer Products (GDRJY) Investor Presentation - Slideshow
Seeking Alpha
Godrej Consumer Products (GDRJY) Investor Presentation - Slideshow. Aug. 16, 2018 2:13 PM ET. |. | About: Godrej Consumer Products ltd. ADR (GDRJY). by: SA Transcripts. The following slide deck was published by Godrej Consumer Products ltd. ADR in ...



North Platte Telegraph

Olympic gold medalist to give presentation
North Platte Telegraph
Her presentation in North Platte will be followed by a luncheon, featuring a question-and-answer session, at the Quality Inn and Suites. All luncheon attendees must be season ticket holders. The cost of the meal is $17, and reservations must be ...



Mirati Therapeutics Announces Presentation Of KRAS G12C Chemistry Advances At The 255th American Chemical ...
PR Newswire (press release)
"We are looking forward to the first public presentation of our orally-active series of covalent inhibitors of KRAS G12C. We will describe the identification of novel lead matter and the structure-based approach that led to increases in potency ...

and more »

Google News

Eitforum.com ©