What Are You Really Saying?
Can you tell when people are worried, afraid, or angry? Do you pay attention to facial expression, eye contact, and body language? Research suggests that very little of our communication is verbal; about 93% of the information we send and receive is nonverbal. We make all kinds of inferences and decisions through nonverbal communication. Misinterpreting nonverbal signals may cause us to make various judgments and assumptions about the individuals we interact with at home and in the workplace.
Nonverbal communication consists of features ranging from gesture and facial expression, voice tone, the use of space, dress, and posture. The use of these combined features is often a subconscious choice, can be a barrier to natural communication, and the cause of interpersonal conflict. To avoid sending unintentional messages it’s important to be aware of nonverbal cues.
The disadvantages of nonverbal communication are:
1. Distortion of messaging
2. Limited feedback
3. Lack of flexibility
4. Greater opportunity to exchange inaccurate information
5. Encoding and decoding errors
There is tremendous value in recognizing, it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it. Like grammatical structures, nonverbal communication has form, function, and meaning. It is important to recognize that when a clash occurs between verbal and nonverbal messaging the receiver tends to believe the nonverbal cues.
Nonverbal signals are a key element to perceiving and evaluating emotions. Most of us recognize personal emotions however, it’s also critical to recognize other’s emotions. Positive communication and collaboration occur when we identify varying feelings, label them appropriately, and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Nonverbal communication is an essential component of emotional intelligence, personal profitability, and workplace productivity.
Be aware of what you’re really saying by recognizing that nonverbal cues speak louder than words!