Effective ways to improve non-verbal communications
Nonverbal communication has been defined as communication without words. It includes apparent behaviors such as facial expressions, eyes, touching, and tone of voice, as well as less obvious messages such as dress, posture and spatial distance between two or more people.
Some major areas of nonverbal behaviors to explore are:
- Eye contact
- Facial expressions
- Posture and body orientation
Eye contact, an important channel of interpersonal communication, helps regulate the flow of communication. And it signals interest in others. Furthermore, eye contact with audiences increases the speaker’s credibility. Teachers who make eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth and credibility.
Smiling is a powerful cue that transmits:
If you fail to gesture while speaking, you may be perceived as boring, stiff and unanimated. A lively and animated teaching style captures students’ attention, makes the material more interesting, facilitates learning and provides a bit of entertainment.
Posture and body orientation:
You communicate numerous messages by the way you walk, talk, stand and sit. Standing erect, but not rigid, and leaning slightly forward communicates to students that you are approachable, receptive and friendly.
You should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading space. Some of these are:
- Leg swinging
- Gaze aversion
This facet of nonverbal communication includes such vocal elements as:
Humor is often overlooked as a tool, and it is too often not encouraged . Laughter releases stress and tension. Obviously, adequate knowledge of the subject matter is crucial to your success; however, it’s not the only crucial element. Creating a climate that facilitates learning and retention demands good nonverbal and verbal skills. To improve your nonverbal skills, record your speaking on video tape. Then ask a colleague in communications to suggest refinements.