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Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace

Nonverbal communication refers to the transmission of information through expression of signals or messages via gestures, facial expressions and body language.  These are added on to words which are spoken during an interaction.  What you say is important but how you say it and how you relay the message is equally important as well.

Nonverbal communication is important as it can show agreement or disagreement, interest or disinterest, confidence or the lack of it. 

There are varying nonverbal physical cues:


  • Eye Contact

Eye contact is very important as a person can gauge another person’s emotions by looking into their eyes.  Maintaining proper eye contact in a conversation is important in forging a connection with the person you are talking to.


  • Voice

How someone project their voice can give you clues on how they are truly feeling.  The tone, pace, volume, pitch and articulation all plays a part.  You wouldn’t want to come across as overbearing or rude when talking to your colleagues if you talk in a loud hurried tone.


  • Posture

How you position your body can let the other party know if you are confident, tired, disinterested or engaging.   If you are slumped with arms across your body, people will feel disengaged from you and a meaningful conversation can’t be carried out.


  • Facial Expressions

You can somehow understand how a person is feeling if you watch his or her facial expressions.  If the person is relaxed or happy, they will have a relaxed smile on their face.  Whereas a forced smile indicates that the person might be hiding their true feelings. 

Learning to recognize the various nonverbal cues will help you to communicate more effectively in your work and avoid unnecessary conflicts as well.