Nonverbal Communication

Guidelines to Enhance your Communicative Power through Nonverbal Communication

Background and Importance of Nonverbal Communication Module

Communicating and decoding thoughts, feelings and emotions are of the essence of the human condition. However, the concept of language often influences one’s perception when considering the term ‘communication’. This not only neglects the ontology of an embodied mind and body interconnectivity, but also disregards the inherent human ability to communicate thought, feeling and emotion through nonverbal behaviouristic features such as physical movements, gestures, postures, sounds and facial expressions.

Nonverbal cues are more reliable and effective than verbal cues in communicating, expressing, and stimulating emotion, thought and feeling. Anthropologist, Ray Birdwhistel (1918-1994), for example, estimated that only 35% of meaning and emotion is communicated verbally, whilst 65% is communicated nonverbally. Contrariwise, psychologists such as Albert Mehrabian (1939), theorised that 7% of emotional meaning is communicated through words, 38% by the prosody of voice, and 55% nonverbally. Despite the apparent controversy surrounding the factual estimation of information communicated through nonverbal and verbal cues, it is evident that human beings are more dependent on nonverbal cues than verbal cues in order to effectively express and communicate meaning and emotion (Nel, 2016:53; Kemp, 2012:25).

As a result, it is imperative to have a thorough understanding and control over our nonverbal gestures to enhance our overall impact power, negotiating skills, influencing tactics and for carrying out productive, fruitful business.
8 Nonverbal Guidelines to enhance your overall communicative impact power:
  1. Use Open Palms
    Always make sure that your hands are visible. Open your palms when you speak as it signifies openness, honesty and sincerity.

  2. Avoid Closing off the Body
    Never fold your arm in front of your body as it signifies that you are unwilling to participate.

  3. Use Metaphorical Gestures
    Metaphorical gestures exemplify abstract concepts rather than concrete objects. Relaxed gestures convey a sense of personal power, so develop a habit using expressive gestures to help emphasise what you are saying.

  4. Never Hide your Hands

  5. Make sure you embody an integrated posture
    Make sure that your feet are hip width apart, knees unlocked and resting on your ankles, hips resting on your knees and shoulders rolled back and resting on your hips. This embodiment is devoid of any personal habitual patterns and will allow you to be in a state of readiness which makes you look more controlled and confident.

  6. Deep Gaze
    When interacting with others, look at the eye colour of a person. This will allow you to stay focused and illustrate that you are engaged

  7. Avoid Pointing
    Pointing is a primal physical reaction for anger, irritation and frustration. Therefore, avoid pointing when interacting with others.

  8. Smile
    Smiling is the only physical reaction which indicates a level of the primal emotion of happiness (enthusiasm, confidence, joy). A resting smile can convey competence and confidence.
The embodiment of these elements will not only enhance your overall communicative impact power, but also increase trust, clarity, and add interest to your presentations.