The Power of Non-Verbal Communication

"You can tell a lot by someone's body language." -Harvey Wolter

No matter your business or industry, effective communication is key to your success. We have spoken before about its importance, with a focus on verbal communication. So, today, we delve deeper into the role that non-verbal communication plays in relation to networking, and why it is so important when conversing with others. 

What is non-verbal communication? 

The American Psychological Association defines non-verbal communication as a way of conveying information without using words. This could include the following: 

  • Facial expressions 
  • Hand gestures 
  • Eye contact 
  • Physical proximity  
  • Other physical cues that  

Did you know that a significant amount of our communication is non-verbal? According to research, “80% of what we communicate involving our actions and gestures versus only 20% being conveyed with the use of words.”  

Every day, we take part in many forms of nonverbal cues, from posture to facial expressions, to gestures, and handshakes. Each one (whether intentional or not) conveys who we are, and how we relate to others. 

Why is it important? 

There are many reasons why non-verbal communication is important during your interactions with others, especially when you are networking. Let’s highlight a few: 

Displays genuine interest 

When you are engaged in the words being spoken by someone else, it is critical to convey that engagement. This is where non-verbal communication is significant.  By nodding your head, standing with positive body language, or something as simple as smiling, you show that you are an active listener. This validates what the other person is saying, and exhibits your interest, and that you value the conversation.  

“It’s not enough to “act” as if you are listening. Listen with your whole being, without unnecessary brain chatter. To connect deeper, set aside your need to develop a reply or further your agenda. Listen past the pause to allow others to fully express themselves. The ability to listen with intent sets you apart as a truly great communicator.

 Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC, via Forbes 

Builds strong relationships 

Since non-verbal communications plays a role in exhibiting genuine interest, as a result you are more likely to build stronger relationships. Positive cues displayed by your body language can help develop trust, which will mean that people are more likely to seek out opportunities for conversation and interactions with you. Additionally, non-verbal signs such as nodding, leaning forward, and maintaining eye contact can help with connection and empathy. 

Conveys emotion

Your non-verbal cues can speak volumes! You have witnessed people who are easy to read by simply watching their facial expressions. This is because it’s a powerful indicator of how a person is feeling, their attitude or openness and their willingness to engage in a conversation. For example, if someone smiles at you from across the room at a networking event, you are more likely to approach them in comparison to someone standing with a frown, and arms crossed.  

Exhibits personality 

When networking, you want to be welcoming and approachable. Whether or not people are drawn to you is largely based on your non-verbal communication. Additionally, the way you hold and present yourself to others is vital to how you are perceived. When you are mindful and intentional in your non- verbal behavior, you allow yourself the space to exhibit confidence, approachability, and a willingness to get to know people.  

The next time you are at a networking event, take note of how you are standing, your facial expressions, and your overall body language. This will help you to recognize certain behaviors and allow for the opportunity to make changes.  

Non-verbal communication is a key player in the game of successful networking. By taking note of its importance, and your own cues and gestures, you will find yourself on the road to welcoming others and building genuine and long-lasting relationships. 

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