One would often hear that expressions tell everything. And whoever said it wasn't very wrong, as if one is really observant, one can make out what the person talking to him really means. Many people are misleading – but they get caught by their body language as one can not hide ones inner feeling through one’s gestures, or in other words non verbal communication indicators. No matter how experienced a person is in concealing his gestures, in some point in time he is likely to give away his true intentions.
The non verbal communication skills thus play an important part in business, like all other walks of life, to understand a client, read what a business opponent has on mind or even to find out the reaction to one’s orders to the team members or what one’s CEO thinks of the project just presented. Nonverbal communication, or in other words the body language, includes our facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures or the tone of one’s voice. And if one considers impact of each one of these, one would find that the non verbal communication possesses in itself a magic that if used intelligently can play wonders in business deals or even in our ordinary routine life.
Let us find out how the various indicators work and how these can be of benefit to us in business.
- Facial Expressions: Whenever we meet a person, in an instant we can figure out whether a person is sad, happy, confused or in deep thought or trouble. This does not require formal training. This is just instincts. But going a step further, the study of face reading has much hidden in its store. Those who have read or practiced the art of face reading can tell whether the subject is shrewd, cunning, liar or a straight forward honest. It is very seldom that experts in face reading get a wrong reading of their subjects as face is the true reflection of a person’s personality. So from now on, start to read a person more intelligently and decipher its hidden contours. It will help you a lot in business deals.
- Gestures: The way a person moves his hands or places these at different parts of his body has hidden meanings. But remember, different cultures have different gestures meaning different things. So one must first know the background of the person and the culture one belongs to before reaching any conclusions. Once while I was in
, I found that a vertical nod by the face means a No rather than a yes. And many a times I got mislead as the shopkeeper had said no and I thought he said yes. Likewise one hands also need to be observed carefully. The pointing of fingers, or moving of hands closer together, one can draw emphasis to what one intends saying. The hand gestures can also show one’s enthusiasm, commitment or otherwise during a discussion. But remember, too many gestures with hands is also indicative of jitter. One may often find confused people clenching their hands or drying out the sweat from their palms. Iran
- Body Language (posture and movements): The way a person sits or stands, walks or leans forward has many indicators in it for one to understand. Often a forward posture means enthusiasm, attentiveness and interest. But the same may show negative signals in some countries when leaning very close to a woman. A relaxed body posture often helps a person to appear confident and in charge of one’s knowledge and office. It is a true reflective of your status within an organization, group or a team.
- Eye Contact: Eyes tell all. Even if one is very good at concealing his otherwise shaky body language, one’s eyes would reveal everything. The way one looks at you can communicate many things like his interest (or otherwise) in you, affection, hostility, or attraction. That is why most people stress on keeping and maintaining a constant eye contact with the person one is talking. If one is observed shying away from the eye contact, it has many negative signals like concealing a fact or telling something that is incorrect. But again a word of caution here. While a direct stare implies intensity, it may also imply a romantic interest if talking to a woman or opposite gender.
- Touch and Space: The touch and space can mean a lot. A firm and warm shake hand at the start of a meeting means a welcome gesture, while a casual shake hand means lack of interest or simply means a non-welcome behaviour. Likewise a good hug is a healthy sign. The space chosen to sit or stand reveals the degree of contact desired. But like said before, these two aspects differ in different cultures and have different interpretations for different genders.
- And lets talk of the Voice. The pitch, tone, rhythm and volume have many things to tell. A monotonous voice, with no oscillations means parrot talk – something that is being said as drill and not as a conviction. One must mince words precisely and forcefully. But remember there is a difference between barking and talking confidently.
This is just the beginning – we will talk more of non verbal communication in future blogs. In the meantime, start practicing on your face reading skills and how to capture the audience by your oscillating voice.
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