Ask yourself these questions, “Is my body talking louder than me?” “Is it sending the right messages to others?”
It is a fact that nonverbal communication and paralanguage encompass every aspect of communication beyond the words.
It’s your facial expressions, your eye contact, your hand gestures, your posture, your tone, your touch, and even your environment. Collectively, they are the wordless signals that speak volumes.
According to the experts, nonverbal communication usually has 60 to 80 percent more impact than the actual spoken words. The good news is that nonverbal communication is a skill that can be developed, improved upon and used strategically in the professional settings. I believe that the importance of nonverbal communication for working women is great and can help them swiftly ascend the corporate ladder.
Here are some tips to help you use nonverbal communication to get ahead at workplace:
Smile and Nod with a Purpose
Every human has more than ten thousand different facial expressions. Another interesting fact is that females use maximum number of face expressions. It has also been found that women are generally more able to identify, interpret and evaluate the facial expressions of people around them.
According to the communication experts, some expressions convey completely different messages for females than they do for males, take smiling and nodding, for instance.
Though smile is a body language sign of appeasement, women smiling more than men is not necessarily a good thing. Being a female, you should always be polite, approachable and likeable but not overly smiley, or people won’t take you seriously.
Maintain a Two-Second Gaze
According to experts, eye contact communicates your confidence. So when you’re speaking in a meeting, it’s good to sustain eye contact for at least two seconds with each person in the room. Being a female, your eye contact should never be longer than five seconds. Moreover, you shouldn’t eye-dart in high-stress situations; it demonstrates weakness.
Use Your Hands Appropriately
For a woman, I believe it is a positive sign to use her hands in a discussion. While sitting in a meeting, the ideal posture for a woman is to put her elbows on the table and her hands together as if she’s making a mountain. Strongly avoid clenching your hands during the meetings as it communicates nervousness and tension.
Stand and Walk Confidently
How you stand and how you enter a room are both very important things. Always stand with confidence and walk like a leader. I’ve seen many women putting more weight on one foot than the other, which causes their hips to shift and appear imbalanced. Ideally, a woman should stand with her weight evenly distributed on each foot. Likewise, when seated in a meeting, her shoulder blades should be touching the back of the chair with her arms evenly balanced on both seat handles, and, ideally, both feet touching the ground. When you want to make a statement, however, that’s when you lean in—literally.
Talk in an Optimal Speed and Volume
According to modern studies, your tone, or how you sound when you’re speaking, is responsible for nearly 40 percent of your words’ impact. When it comes to speed, about 150 words per minute is the optimal speed. The best way is to record yourself and listen back to see if the speed and volume of your conversation is optimal, and keep practicing until you reach the optimal level.