The importance of non-verbal communication at work and in professional relationships
Good interaction is fundamental in order to have success at work. The ideal professional needs to have an array of elements at hand in order to effectively interact with his or her companions in the workplace. This goes further than just being able to hold a decent conversation, the non-verbal components are just as important to successfully transmit the message. The use of gestures, hand movements and facial expressions all constitute key pieces in generating or not generating empathy towards others.
The correct use of non-verbal communication allows us to be clear, efficient and above all it is important for confidence, credibility, veracity and seriousness when transmitting messages. This has become a part of the communication strategy and is used to achieve our objectives, for example, when negotiating a new business deal.
In day to day life, between 60% and 80% of daily communication is non-verbal. With this in mind, we are going to look at some of the most important aspects that need to be kept in mind:
- Posture: holding oneself upright, back straight, shoulders neutral and the head held high to give the sensation of conviction, control, security, closeness and confidence. You need to maintain a firm posture without appearing too rigid as that makes you come across as being uncomfortable.
- The look: maintain eye contact and have expression in your eyes, this shows that you believe in the message you are transmitting.
- Gestures: establish coherence between ones facial expression and with what is being said. If emphatic movements are made, the correct way should be with an open hand and without pointing, the movement needs to be natural. A good hand shake is based on the tact, strength and determination. The hand should have a pleasing feel, the strength should be firm but controlled, no floating hands without character.
- Personal space: according to studies, personal space is approximately 50cm distance and professionally it is 125cm. It is very important to keep this in mind, as it is never good to make anyone feel that their personal space is being “invaded”.
- Voice and silence: to communicate a message efficiently, it is good to vary the intonations when speaking, use a good rhythm and avoid repetitions. It is also important to create pauses and silences, not long ones however, in order to create a dynamic with the audience.
- Presentation: wardrobe, hairstyle, clean shaven, nails, all of these basic image elements form a part of the way we communicate at work. It is important to look after this aspect as it affects how we are perceived by our peers
As you can see non-verbal communication is as important as verbal communication and the two come together to influence the way messages are expressed and transmitted.