How Much of Communication Is Really Nonverbal

by | Mar 14, 2020 | business

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Nonverbal communication has been proven to be the main channel we use to exchange information. But how does this really work, and how can we control it better to improve our relationships?

It can be tricky to learn the art of managing our posture, facial expressions, and gestures while speaking.

 Let’s have a look at 12 game-changing facts that are essential in your daily nonverbal communication.

Over time, many psychologists, doctors, and scientists have been studying the way we communicate.

It can be particularly tricky as the human factor cannot always be foreseen in such experiments. However, the studies conducted by Albert Mehrabian’s give us a fairly clear answer. 

This research’s findings have created the famous 7%-38%-55% Rules, today used in the majority of communication studies.

This rule explains to us that:

  ●  Our tone of voice accounts for 38% of our communication.
  ●  Our body language accounts for 55% 
  ●  And or words account for only 7%.

This study has been the subject of many controversies, and many other researchers have found slightly different proportions.

However, the key finding of this research is that the large majority of our communication is nonverbal. Ultimately, the way you say it is just as important as what you say!

2. Why Does ‘How You Say It’ Matter?

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As we have seen above, your nonverbal communication accounts for 93% of your information exchanging process. It makes the way you portray your concept extremely importantly! It is not to say that your words are extremely important.

Let’s have a look at what to consider when presenting your ideas to others and the essential nonverbal clues:

  ●  Words account for only 7% of our communication process. 
  ●  Your look is important to portray a great first impression
  ●  Your posture can influence how others see you
  ●  Your facial expressions are an essential part of your nonverbal communication.
  ●  The tone of your voice (and the volume) can change the meaning of your words.
  ●  Nonverbal clues are the first thing noticed by others, and the one remembered the most.

Now that you have an idea of how many factors are involved, let’s have a look at what you should know to control it better.

3. How Much Do You Know About Your Body Language?

As many studies report, knowing the power of body language yields great benefits.

In fact, being aware of the state and characteristics of your nonverbal communication is the first step to control it. While the way we move and act is often subconscious, we can have a greater grip over it.

Often when we meet somebody, we don’t pay attention to their names as our minds are focused on their body language.

It is how important and subtle this instrument is. However, don’t forget that the first two minutes of your meeting with somebody is essential!

So, how do we improve our control over the way we interact with others? Start analyzing yourself when you speak with others.

Then start introducing some of the tips we are offering you in this article. Don’t be too hard on yourself! You are changing the habits you have created in a lifetime. 

4. The Importance Of Training Yourself To Control Your Body Language

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Once you have decided what weaknesses your body language shows, it is time to improve it. However, how do you improve your whole nonverbal communication?

Try to introduce the following techniques in your daily life:

  ●  Avoid crossing your legs or arms: when talking with others, you don’t want to portray closure. Assume a straight but open posture to encourage the conversation.

  ●  Mirror the other: Mirroring the conversation pace and movements of the person in front of you have been seen to create synergy.

  ●  Use a firm handshake and keep up your eye contact: these two simple gestures can add strength to your concept in no time.

  ●  Keep your head up and lean forward while you speak: this body posture indicated engagement.

  ●  Relax your body: it can be hard while focusing on all these facts but keeping your hands still can get you much further!

  ●  Keep your posture upright to maintain your audience’s trust.

You might be reading all nonverbal communication clues subconsciously already. However, being able to understand how others feel and what they are thinking can give you great advantages.

Studies found that there are great social benefits of understanding others’ body language.

In fact, this can tell you whether your audience is unengaged or bored (looking away, fidgeting, etc.). In the same way, you might learn that somebody in intimidated, upset, or uncomfortable. 

Noticing these basic ways of behaving can help you with your professional and personal relationships.

It is because you are at this point in a position of power and can change the way the conversation is going. You can do so by appearing friendlier, less intimidating, or helpful.

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Our eyes and the expressions we portray through them are the most challenging part of our body language to control.

However, they are also one of the most important parts of our nonverbal communication. Our eyes are composed of many different parts, which are all equally important.

Here is what your eyes are saying:

  ●  Pupils: we have practically no control over the way our pupils move. However, dilated pupils can express interest. While you can’t change the look of your pupils, you can check whether your interlocutor is interested in what you are saying or not.

  ●  Eye contact: it is normal to have continuous eye contact with the person we are speaking to, but a persistent one can be intimidating. Even in relationships with animals, this can represent threats or challenges.

  ●  Blinking and winking. Blinking often can represent attraction.

  ●  Eye direction when the other person is thinking. Left means that they are trying to remember something. Right means they are creating an idea.

7. The Benefits Of Understanding People’s Nonverbal Communication In The Workplace

In the workplace, there are endless benefits of understanding your colleagues’ body language. You can, in fact, add strength to your presentations in front of a broader audience. In the same way, you can better the relationships with your colleagues.

 Moreover, this can help you better understand the way your colleagues communicate. By knowing this, you can adapt the way you speak to each one of them to better bring your ideas across.

8. The Benefits Of Understanding People’s Nonverbal Communication In Personal Relationships.

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Nonverbal communication processes are just as important in your personal relationships. Understanding your partner’s or friends’ body language is the key to creating a healthy relationship.

Moreover, it is possible to understand whether there is something wrong with comparing their attitudes over time. 

This can be a great source of trust and can be incredibly reassuring. Lastly, portraying your emotions through your body language can be a great way to communicate your feelings.

9. The Way You Dress Counts!

The way we dress is an essential part of our personal, national, and even professional culture. However, you might not know that it can say a lot about you! In your workplace, wearing an ironed shirt or suit can make you look extremely professional and confident.

Moreover, you should be aware that there are other aspects to it to take into consideration. In fact, jewelry, hats, and handbags you wear can also be part of your nonverbal communication.

For example, today, an increasing number of people tend to add custom enamel pins that portray a message and say something more about who is wearing them.

 While this is a great way to show your personality and interests, keep in mind that your interlocutor will be subconsciously analyzing you! If you are about to attend an important meeting, learning more about your audience’s taste can help you out!

10. A Great First Impression Goes A Long Way

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While a book should never be judged by its cover, first impressions do count!

In fact, you might have noticed that you can’t remember the name of the person you just met a few minutes after he or she said it. It is because your smart brain was focused on his or her dress, look, smile, hand gestures.

Our first impressions are indeed extremely important. It is also the moment when we are the most nervous. However, if you are able to control your emotions and look relaxed during this important moment, you’ll see the benefits for a long time!

Don’t forget that all of your nonverbal communication will affect the first impression you have of someone.

 You should aim at creating empathy and synergy between you and your interlocutor. You can do this by mirroring and learning more about him or her before the meeting.

11. Your Gestures Can Keep Your Audience Engaged!

Speaking in front of an audience is one of the scariest things to do in life for most people! The only thing that can make it worse is that your audience is not engaged! So how can you avoid that happening? 

Here are a few tips:

  ●  Your hands can describe better what you are saying – keeping your hand gestures descriptive can help your audience better understand the concept you are explaining. 

  ●  Keep your hands open and show your palms – this enhances your audience’s trust.

  ●  Keep your hands within your shoulders and hips – larger movements can distract the audience.

  ●  Don’t point or do the ‘Clinton’s fist’ – both of these gestures can make you come across as too aggressive.

  ●  Don’t hold objects during a presentation – this can make you fiddle with it.

  ●  Drop your hands to your sides to regain attention.

  ●  Use your hands! Don’t clasp your hands, show them to the audience.

12. Different Cultures Can Have an Effect on Body Language

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Now are almost a body language expert! However, don’t forget one last, but just as an important factor.

Personal and national cultures can largely affect the perception and characteristics of body language. In fact, something that is appropriate in one country can be offensive in another.

In this case, one of the most important steps you should take is to learn more about body language and customs of the other country. Pay attention to the proximity between people, their facial expressions, habits, and if there are special customs (like bowing).

To nail the appropriate body language to use in a different country, mirroring is key. When you are speaking to another person, copy his or her movements.

 It can teach you a lot about the local culture and the way people interact with each other. Remember that head movement, eye contact, nose contact, finger signs, kisses, and proximity all count!

Conclusion

That nonverbal communication makes up for the large majority of our communication processes is no surprise. However, being able to control it and giving it the right importance is often underestimated by many people.

However, here we have seen some of the greatest benefits you could see by learning how to control your body language.

Remember, your entire body can communicate, from your posture to your pupils. While it can seem intimidating learning all of these techniques, the advantages of training yourself are endless.

 Are you aware of your body language? Do you know how to control it? Have you found any of these tips useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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