A huge proportion of communication is non-verbal; your facial expressions, posture, and body language all convey a significant amount of information to your listener. It’s essential to consider your body language when trying to hone your professional communication skills. But once you’ve cultivated your own non-verbal communication to reflect confidence and professionalism, there’s still another aspect of non-verbal communication to consider: reading the body-language of others. In addition to being mindful of your own non-verbal communication, you should closely monitor that of your listener as well. If your conversation partner is confused, bored, or upset, he may not say so directly, but his body language will usually do the talking for him.
When gauging another person’s non-verbal communication, it’s crucial to consider all of the different aspects of their body language as a whole. For example, crossed arms may indicate a variety of emotions, but if you take other body language into account, it’s easier to determine what your communication partner is feeling. For example, crossed arms and a downward or sideways gaze often indicate discomfort with the topic or situation at hand. However, if crossed arms are accompanied by direct, somewhat intense eye contact, feelings of hostility are likely.
Use your conversation partner’s body language to your advantage. Pay close attention to facial expressions and body language to see how your message is being received and then tailor your speech and message accordingly. Reading between the lines can go a long way towards fixing communication problems before they begin.
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