Year 2018 is a year of success. Make a resolution to be authentic with your communication and achieve success in your own terms. Bring your best foot forward and take charge of your nonverbal communication.
“It’s not what you say but how you say it.”
When we interact with others, we continuously give and receive wordless signals. All of our nonverbal behaviours—the gestures we make, the way we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we stand, how much eye contact we make—send strong messages. These messages don’t stop when you stop speaking either. Even when you’re silent, you’re still communicating nonverbally. In many instances, what comes out of your mouth and what you communicate through your body language are two totally different things. When faced with these mixed signals, the listener has to choose whether to believe your verbal or nonverbal message. Invariably, they’re going to choose the nonverbal because it’s a natural, unconscious language that broadcasts your true feelings and intentions. The good news is that body language can be learned and with practice you can master your communication skills.
2018 Body Language do’s:
#1 Lets Smile:
That’s because research shows that a smiling expression sends feedback from your face to your left frontal cortex, which in turn triggers the release of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine into your brain. These “happiness” chemicals begin to improve your mood. In addition, smiling increases your charisma.
- How Smiling Affects Your Brain:
Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
- How Smiling Affects Your Body:
You’re actually better looking when you smile. When you smile, people treat you differently. You’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia reported that seeing an attractive smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain that process sensory rewards. This suggests that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded.
- How Smiling Affects Those Around You:
Smiling doesn’t just benefit you on the inside. It also works to your advantage from the outside. A study from Penn State University found that people who smile appear to be more likeable, courteous. and even competent. This is reason enough to smile at every person you potentially want to do business with. Lifting those facial muscles into a smile is also contagious; if you smile and they smile, everyone in the room becomes a little happier. Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden concluded that frowning when looking at someone smiling is possible, but would be very difficult.
#2 Lets eye gaze purposefully:
Eye contact is a form of body language, which is important during communication. Eye contact builds connection faster. Some points to remember while communicating and why eye contact is important are:
- Surprise! Eye contact is a sign that you happen to be a good listener! Now what has the eye got to do with listening? When you keep eye contact with the person you are talking to it indicates that you are focused and paying attention. It means that you are actually listening to what the person has to say. That is where the saying “Don’t just listen with your ears” comes from. So “listen” more than talk, everyone loves a good listener especially the opposite gender!
- Your eyes are a way of building a connection with the other person. This could mean you like that person. You feel comfortable talking and communicating with the person or you just are plain falling in love with the person! Either way, the eyes say it all.
- A big part of eye contact is building trust. A person with whom you are talking to will be more likely to trust and respect you as eye contact indicates an openness in communication. It also tells the other person “Hey, I am confident and self-assured, you can trust me”. So if you hope to land that big contract or project, be trust-worthy!
#3 Lets match verbal and nonverbal communication:
We know that body language accounts for way more than 60-93 percent of our communication, with the actual words spoken constituting a fairly small percentage, at times apparently as little as seven percent [(Mehrabian & Wiener (1967)].
I’m sure we can all think of a time when someone has said one thing but we have picked up on so much more. How frustrating is it when someone has said something during an argument but you just don’t believe their words and you’re not sure why. You’ve instinctively sensed that they said one thing yet communicated something totally different, but you couldn’t give your instinct verbalised credibility because you couldn’t pinpoint it with words. You just knew something was up or something didn’t quite add up!
It is also fair to say that both verbal and non-verbal communication impact on the success of our relationships. Remember, our relationships determine our success at work, in our personal lives and even our health and longevity. So, how we communicate verbally and non-verbally is incredibly important to us as human beings.
We can use the exact same words but communicate a whole host of varied messages just by using different forms of non-verbal communication such as:
- a different tone of voice,
- altered body posture,
- varied arm/hand/feet movements,
- alternative arm/hand/feet/hip placement,
- varied facial expressions,
- and diverse eye contact.
When our words, emotions and body language are congruent, we are authentic with our communication and interactions.