Communication is about more than the words you speak. Nonverbal communication is an important tool, and when properly used, can help you to communicate more effectively and invite others to be open with you. Use these tips as a starting point to improve your nonverbal communication.
Making eye contact when someone is speaking lets them know you’re listening. And when you’re the one doing the talking, establishing eye contact shows confidence and allows you to better gauge the reaction of the other person to what you’re saying.
There’s no need to maintain an unbroken stare: looking away briefly can show that you’re giving careful thought to what’s been said, or are considering what to say next. But using eye contact to show interest and maintain connection can help others to open up to you.
Our facial expressions convey emotion in a powerful way. Unless it’s inappropriate for the situation, smile when you engage someone in conversation to help them feel that they’re welcome to share their own thoughts and feelings with you.
Your expression can go a long way to showing someone that you care about what they’re saying, even without words. Be sure to pay attention to what your face is saying when you’re in a conversation, so that you’re conveying engagement and receptiveness.
Body language may be the most significant form of nonverbal communication. Focus on your posture and movements to make sure your body is reinforcing the message you put into words. Stand or sit up straight to convey confidence, lean slightly towards the person you’re speaking with to show interest, and face the person you’re talking to so you can both engage fully in the conversation.
Improving nonverbal communication takes concentration and effort, but by focusing on one thing at a time you can improve your interpersonal skills, convey the message you want to get across, and be a better listener for others. Remember, good nonverbal communication is a skill that takes practice, but it’s a skill that is worth developing.