Humans send non verbal signals continuously while communicating. Hands, gestures, eyes, distance from the audience, loudness of the voice are all important while we communicate.An effective communicator must know how to balance and control both verbal and non verbal communication.
In cases where there is a mismatch between the verbal and non-verbal, the audience is likely to believe the non-verbal cues. To be a better communicator, we need to understand the non verbal cues of others as well as inculcate them
Some of the basic factors that influence our non-verbal expression, that we can control to make our communication more effective are:
- Facial Expression
Facial expressions control every part of our speech,whether we like it or not. We express anger, happiness, sadness, fear, disgust and surprise while communicating. One must heighten their effect of communication by practicing in front of the mirror and using the expressions right.
Voice is the orator’s most important instrument.The modulations we can make using our voice can manipulate how our speech flows and how the audience understands it.It is also important to modulate, lower down,pause and play with the vocal strength and rang we we have. Modulations must be practiced extensively for perfect communication.
When there is a bad posture in a speaker, we tend to lose interest in them.Bad posture normally signals low energy and confidence. To prop our show and make the right impression and grab attention, we must work on that posture. Subtle movements, shifting of shoulders, head, legs, slight steps and stances would make a speech more effective.
A person who talks animatedly, with hand movements and body gestures holds the attention of the audience more than a person who chooses to stands still. Gestures give life to how we want the speech to be understood. Few common gestures that we could make are waving, pointing and beckoning. To get some energy into the act , we could use our gestures.
A firm handshake communicates a lot even before we speak. A timid and lifeless hand shake radiates our lack of confidence or interest to the other person even before we start to speak. There’s a difference between a gentle tap to acknowledge and a bossy push. We must be aware of the art of being physical in an unobtrusive way.
Lastly, space. We should understand the right amount of space between the speaker and the audience – no matter how big or small the number is. When we maintain a decent space, we can use our other non-verbal tools such as voice, posture and gestures without fear or doubt and also allow the audience space to absorb our speech or performance best without feeling overwhelmed or feeling disconnected.
In a nutshell, we must be aware of the verbal and non-verbal cues to improve our communication and effect on the audience.
If you are a great orator, but cannot connect to your audience, it is time you looked within yourself and understood where your non-verbal stance is contradicting you and start to work on it.
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