Communications (Verbal And Non-Verbal)

Communicating means

- non-verbal communication is non-linguistic and refers to how a message is sent like tone, accent, pitch, etc

- verbal communications focus is on the content. For example, according to Bill Muirhead (advertising guru who co-founded the world's biggest ad agency, ie M&C Saatchi), the 2 most important advertising words are 'new' and 'free'. People like something new, while free has an ambiguous meaning, ie something for no cost and the idea of freedom. If you want pictures, you need to have animals and babies included (source: Hans van Leeuwen, 2021)

Non-verbal behaviour can interact with their verbal messages, eg

    - reinforce verbal discourse, eg a head nod can demonstrate agreement

    - substitute for it, eg eyes rolling

    - accentuated it, eg a slap on the back after a joke

    - contradict it, eg wiping away tears while saying that you are OK

"...All uses of non-verbal behaviour can support, re-enforce, or add to......contradict and undermine your verbal messages..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019)

Non-verbal communication perceived as more authentic and is more likely to be believed than verbal; non-verbal is perceived as less conscious. These subconscious messages are interpreted as a better reflection of the person's true-self or meaning.

In verbal communications, the words you use are important, ie what is their degree of power. Some powerless language includes

    - hedges, eg 'I guess', 'sort of', etc

    - intensifiers, eg ' I really did', etc

    - using overly polite or overly formal language, eg 'with due respect to my learned colleague', etc

    - tag questions, eg 'that's right, isn't it?', etc

    - hesitating, eg, 'you know....', 'I mean.....', 'umm', etc

Powerless language can create the perception you are unsure of what you are talking about.

Research has demonstrated that language characteristics, like powerless language, can impact on other people's attitudes to you and this can affect their thoughts about your message, regardless of its merits, ie

"...powerless language tends to distract attention from the idea or argument you're making..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

Some examples of powerless body language include

    - shifting from one foot to the other

    - taking small steps side to side

    - continually swinging from back leg to front leg and front leg to back

NB The above examples demonstrate nervousness and unnecessary movements can be distracting for the audience, ie it takes attention away from your message and its impact on the audience.

Your body language needs to reflect your words, ie body language should be consistent with, and reinforce, your words.

Try to reduce any distracting gestures like hand movements, facial expressions, etc

Some more examples of powerless messaging involve self-protection or self-preservation which can be experienced when under pressure:

    - not looking at the audience

    - restricted affect or freezing face, ie face appears stiff or frozen

    - eye contact (those with whom you make most eye contact with suggests that you hold these people in greater value than othersup; vice versa for those receiving less of your eye contact; making eye contact can be also seeking positive validation; you will give more eye contact to those that are conveying positive vibes in their facial expression, like smiling, ie you seek positive affirmation; aim to get everybody's energy and attention)

Ideally need to have alignment between your verbal and non-verbal communication cues, ie ensure they are supporting your message.

More on body language (including non-verbal responses like facial expressions) (for more detail, see other parts of the Knowledge Base)

- Tone is important, eg a curt tone can give the impression that you have said or done something wrong. Need to ensure that people feel you are valuing them in your interaction with them.

Facial expressions are a powerful way of indicating intentions and reading emotions.

NB need to be aware of cultural differences and interpretations

"...Across all cultures, we read facial expressions and body language and then make assumptions based on our interpretation..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

Need to encourage active listening, ie listening and responding positively to another person's conversation; focusing a 100% on the person talking with you

(for more detail, see other parts of the knowledge base)


Search For Answers

designed by: bluetinweb

We use cookies to provide you with a better service.
By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our policy. I understand