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Send the right nonverbal cues

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Every day, you send subtle body language signals that influence how others see you. Your posture, facial expression and arm movements are just some of the tools you can use to either instill trust or drive people away.

Consider how you plant yourself at the beginning of a conversation with an employee. Whether you're standing or sitting, you want to establish eye contact from the outset. If you look distracted, the employee may already doubt your interest or attentiveness.

To encourage people to open up to you, send supportive, non-threatening cues as you listen. Align your body with the speaker so that you're almost mirror images of each other. Keep your arms at your sides (don't fold them across your chest) and avoid excessive head shaking that implicitly says, "I'm not agreeing with a word of this."

There are less obvious but more insidious ways that your body language can shut down fruitful communication. Lower-eyelid twitching and nose crinkling can convey negativity and annoyance. Pulling at your nose or strands of hair can signal impatience or disapproval. Excessive hand rubbing or scalp massaging can also work against you. Smiling out of one side of your mouth often indicates disdain for what you hear.

If you genuinely experience these adverse emotions, decide whether you want your employee to know what you feel. It's usually wise to mask your contempt or dismay by maintaining outward stillness and exhibiting facial expressions that suggest openness and curiosity.

Finally, it's critical to align your words and your nonverbal cues. If you're urging someone to give you bad news, but your face or gestures betray hidden feelings of fury or runaway anxiety, your employee may elect to lie rather than provoke your wrath.

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