Five steps to master nonverbal communication in the workplace

colleagues giving an office high-five

To unlock your business voice you ultimately need to unlock your body language.

Despite your good intentions and how carefully you have worded what you need to deliver, without mastering your body language you are likely to be portraying the wrong message through your nonverbal communication. Eye contact, gestures, how you smile and facial expressions will all build up an impression of yourself to others. Experienced presentation coach and author of Unlock Your Business Voice: how to speak as well as you think (£12.99, Rethink Press), Simon de Cintra, provides the fives steps you should follow to master nonverbal communication in the workplace.

Facial Expressions

From experience I have seen how detrimental facial expressions can be in communication, trying to over accentuate your facial expressions often comes across as inauthentic and aggressive whereas equally trying to be neutral and not display any emotion on your face can come across as though you are bored or not interested in what others have to say. Evidently, a balance is needed when communicating. You may find the following tactic beneficial, record yourself when talking to someone else which can be anyone from a family member to a colleague. Play the recording back and see what facial expressions you have been using and ask whoever you were talking to what impression they got from you as a result of your nonverbal communication. Therefore, once you are aware of your weaknesses in this area you can take steps to rectify these mistakes which will significantly aid relationships in the workplace.

Tone of Voice

Do you vary your tone depending on the situation? If the answer is no, this may be where you are going wrong in communication. You are not on your own in this mistake, often the simple things are often the most influential and yet most people do not pay attention to their tone of voice and then they wonder why they cannot unlock their business voice they need and want. Changing your tone to suit the specific situation is key to you discovering the formula to unlock your business voice. My advice is to match the recipient’s vocal intensity, not their volume, and speak one beat slower than them.

Eye Contact

How well you can maintain eye contact will determine how well you tune into others. Shifty eyes can portray to others that you are distracted or create a negative impression that you are nervous or ignoring what they have to say. You need to convince the parties involved that you are paying attention in order to build effective relationships in business, therefore do not forget to maintain steady eye contact.

Posture

With your posture it is crucial to not be distracted by others who use their business machine – their posture, mind, body and voice – to undermine your status. Instead, match and mirror what they are doing rather than competing in trying to dominate and win. There are some tricks to achieve this: remain upright and open, without puffing out your chest like a bodybuilder and position yourself on a slight angle rather than directly opposite the other party.

Time

We all want to improve our communication with a click of a button but in reality changing how we communicate is a time-consuming process. You do not wake up one day and suddenly communicate completely differently, this explains why it is so important you master your time by taking the time necessary to train yourself with the new technique before implementing it too quickly into the workplace. Experimenting with how you communicate through your body language is time well spent, because it will enable you to grow professionally and in confidence throughout the rest of your career.

About the author

Simon de Cintra has over 25 years experience in business and provides coaching and mentoring for people who are looking to gain confidence with their public speaking skills or want to learn how to lead and influence others.

In 2006 Simon founded MyFirstTrainers® and has delivered workshops at leading business schools and internationally for major blue chip companies. Simon specialises in personal impact, influencing and persuading stakeholders and public speaking skills for introverts working in complex and highly technical environments.

His varied career inspired him to seek the formula behind authentic communication revealed in his new book Unlock Your Business Voice – How to speak as well as you think (£12.99, Rethink Press). On-sale now from Amazon at £12.99

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