Most of my clients come to my door ready to work on their speaking skills. Whether it’s modifying an accent, improving articulation, or learning to speak with a strong dynamic voice, most people are focused on improving their speech for better communication. Although all of these skills are essential to learning to communicate with clarity and confidence, most people don’t realize that body language and non-verbal communication also play a huge role in how they’re perceived as a professional and can help them become a stronger communicator. Here is the first in a series of tips that will influence the way you communicate in business.
Use Eye Contact to Build Trust and Engage Your Listener:
Eye contact is a crucial part of non-verbal communication. When someone is avoiding eye contact, it introduces an element of mistrust, as though they have something to hide. Not making enough eye contact can also make you seem disengaged from your listener, or signal that you’re uncomfortable or nervous. In order to appear confident, engaged, and approachable, maintain eye contact throughout a conversation, but every few sentences, shift your gaze for about second before resuming eye contact.
Last year, I was working with a client I will call Andy. Andy and I were working to improve his business communication skills as a non-native English speaker. I continuously reminded him that he needed to look me (and others) in the eye during business conversations in person or via videoconference. One session, I decided to record him. When we reviewed the video together, I asked him what he noticed. His immediate response was, “I keep looking at the floor!” Yes, I probably should have videotaped him sooner, but at least he finally realized just how often he looked at the floor rather than at the listener. Once he recognized this pattern, he began to make the change.
Want to learn more? Give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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