Communication these days comes in all forms, from verbal, written, nonverbal, visual, "writing on a wall" and even tweeting. For businesses, communication is very important within the company, customers, and clients, and some of the most important communication is said without words. Nonverbal communication speaks wonders about how you present yourself, as well as your business, to others and can convey just as much or more to your customers. Keep these nonverbal communication signals in mind the next time you are conducting business with customers, clients, or with your associates.
Keep your back straight! Don't slouch! Shoulders up! We've all heard how we should present ourselves visually by having correct posture. It's true: good posture will present your body in a positive manner. Good posture will give you a strong, upright, and positive looking body. You will look presentable, eager, and ready for whatever is thrown your way. Having good posture shows confidence and a strong individual. Slouching or slumping is sloppy and just plain unprofessional and communicating the message that you are sloppy and uncoordinated.
On the same lines as posture, practicing eye contact is important when communicating in business. The correct use of eye contact will allow you to appear credible and trustworthy without uttering a word. Eye contact is important because it helps to develop trust between people by showing them visually that you are interested and want to hear what they have to say. Make sure you are looking into their eyes with intent, a glassy look is not the goal.
Using your hands and face to add to the message you are trying to convey is a great nonverbal technique. Gestures emphasize your point, as well as give clues to what you really mean besides verbal communication. Negative and positive gestures are equally visual and can be easily interpreted by others. For example, if you are nervous, it is important to keep an eye on your gestures. They can enhance your nerves and make you seem even more uncomfortable. Stay in control and use gestures to add positively to communicate.
Toe tapping, leg twitching, drumming of fingers, or pacing are all nonverbal cues that draw the listener's attention. People are naturally drawn to movement and will shift their attention to a moving object rather than what they are focusing on. Be careful of your movements while communicating. Pacing grabs attention and encourages people to focus, somewhat like a professor in a large lecture hall who paces the stage to ensure students are paying attention. On the other hand, tapping and twitching are seen as signs of nervousness and will be more distracting than helpful in communicating.
Your mindset is the most important nonverbal communication out there. It is what inherently controls the physical nonverbal communication actions. Just like movement, it is important to be aware of your mindset at all times to ensure you are communicating your true thoughts. For example, if you are a salesperson and pitching something to a potential client that is somewhat misleading, your mind will know and your nonverbal communication cues, such as body language and eye contact, will change. Additionally, being nervous or anxious will show in nonverbal physical forms of communication if you are in the wrong mindset.
Presenting yourself via your actions is a big part of nonverbal communication in business. Being dressed appropriately and practicing good hygiene is important. It communicates that you are put together and present yourself well, which will give others a positive vibe. Additionally, being on time, even a few minutes early, is important as well. It communicates that you respect others' time and are responsible to do business with.
Preparing the perfect sales pitch, speech, or presentation to communicate verbally is important - but don't forget about the nonverbal communication as well. Try to keep these signals in mind during any kind of interaction.