From the minute you shake someone’s hand for the first time, communication is important. The words you use are vital, but if you want to be sure to make the right first impression (or hundredth) you should always be mindful of the non-verbal message that you’re conveying. Here are three ways you can improve your non-verbal communication skills.
Be aware of your body: As a leader, you probably talk a lot. Make it your mission to be mindful of the message your body is sending. You may have something else on your mind, but when you’re speaking with an employee or colleague, you want them to know that you’re focused on the present. When you’re speaking, your listener is probably looking at your face, so be especially sure to avoid any negative reactions (frowns, eye-rolling, etc…), but also be mindful of the rest of your body. Slouching or turning away will let someone know you don’t care about what they have to say. Don’t be too exaggerated, but make your body language match up with the words that you’re saying.
Keep your eye on the target: You’ve never heard that eye contact is important. Obviously, I’m kidding, but in the device-filled world we live in, verbal communication has taken a backseat to text messages. I haven’t heard of anyone proposing to their significant other via iMessage, but I’m sure it’ll happen eventually (if it hasn’t already). Face-to-face communication is a lost art, but for those of us that still enjoy it, it’s important to keep an eye on your target so they know you’re fully committed to the conversation.
Keep your tone positive: Sometimes you’re told things that you couldn’t possibly care less about. When someone is looking for approval or another positive reaction, try to avoid a tone that is dull and uninterested. When others are excited about news they’re sharing, you should come across as excited, or at the very least happy to hear the news. Think about the ways you’ve responded in the past and do your best to use a proper tone when talking to employees and coworkers.