Managing Non Verbal Communication In The Workplace

September 23, 2014

PManagers need to be aware of how they communicate in the workplace. Nonverbal communication often plays a greater role than verbal.

Your hand gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, rate of speech and clothing speak volumes to others, often without you knowing it.

You may be saying one thing, but your facial expressions can be giving out a different meaning.

For example, if you are explaining a new project goal to an underling while frowning, he may take that as he’s doing something wrong.

As a manager, you need to be aware of these nonverbal behaviors to successfully communicate with your employees.

Here are some tips on managing nonverbal communication:

Eye Contact – Eye contact is very important for establishing presence and interest. Managers are often busy and distracted, and try to multitask.

Have you ever spoken to an employee while checking your e-mail or trying to finish a report?

That may have left that individual feeling unappreciated, like you couldn’t devote proper time to her. Make sure to keep eye contact with the party or parties you are speaking to make them feel valued and important.

Facial Expressions – Facial expressions can be used to communicate anger, happiness, approval, confusion, fear, boredom, etc.

If you are giving a motivational speech to your team while yawning, they may take that to mean you are bored and don’t believe in your message.

While speaking, remember to monitor your expressions so that your face conveys the same message as your words.

Gestures – When communicating in the office, remember to observe your hand gestures.

While using your hands while you speak can sometimes enhance others’ understanding of what you’re describing, other gestures can be distracting.

For example, playing with your hair or scratching your nose during a speech can lead your audience to believe that you are uncomfortable.

Clothing – Clothing is another example of nonverbal communication. Your appearance speaks volumes about you.

As a manager, you set the work environment in the office. If you come to work in proper work attire, such as a suit and tie, this conveys the message to your team that you believe the workplace is a serious place, and dress accordingly.

If you come in shorts and sandals, or torn or ripped clothing, you are communicating that the workplace is an extremely casual and lax environment. Remember that your nonverbal behavior shapes and influences the behavior or your staff.

How you dress tells them not only how they should dress, but also how you feel about the job.

Since nonverbal communication plays such a big role in conveying your emotions and intent in conversations, it is important for managers to be mindful of their body language. Managing nonverbal communication can help deliver the right message and not distract the audience from your original intent.

Many thanks

Stewart Bull

Senior Trainer & Consultant

Mark Williams 3

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)