How to Use Positive Non-Verbal Communication
When we’re young, we are taught how to use our words. That lesson continues on through life with a series of English and Communication classes, as well as regular examples in our daily lives. By the time we’re adults, it’s assumed that we have learned to master the art of communication so that we can be successful in our lives. For some, this is truer than for others. What we aren’t taught, or at least not as well, is that non-verbal communication can go a long way. In fact, because people see us before they speak to us, our non-verbal cues can actually set the stage for everything else.
Being positive in communication isn’t difficult. However, unless you have a conscious grasp of your nonverbal actions, you might not be aware that you’re putting off certain ‘vibes’, if you will. For example, if you are waiting on someone and standing with your arms crossed over your chest, you will come off as unapproachable. Whether the person interprets this as you being shy or simply closed off is subjective, but it doesn’t look good.
How then, can you use non-verbal communication in a positive way? Well, there are plenty of things that you can do. The first is to be conscious of your non-verbal cues and what they mean. If you are aware of your body language, it’ll be much easier to adapt these tips. Now, a few tips:
Smile. If you’re always smiling, you’ll always give a positive vibe to those around you. It might sound cliché, but it’s true. Smiling is infectious and when you do it, you are going to encourage others to be positive, as well.
Eye contact. Make it, and make sure that you’re not making any negative faces when you are doing so. If you’re smiling and making eye contact, you’re going to come off as a lot more positive than someone who walks looking straight ahead or with a scowl on their face.
Hands down! Just as crossing your arms makes you unapproachable, other gestures are going to make a difference, too. The best way to be positive is to keep your hands at your sides, or perhaps perched subtly and casually in your pockets. That shows a good stance that is open and welcoming.
Know your facial expressions. Even when you don’t realize it, your face might be saying one thing while your mouth is saying another. People tend to be overly analytical of non-verbal cues, so make sure that your expressions are positive and match your words. This takes time, but it can be done.
Stop the restlessness. Fidgeting is a sign of disinterest or negativity, in most cases. Try not to toy with your watch, tap your foot, twirl your hair, or anything else that is going to give off the “I’m bored with you” vibe. If you’re nervous, this can be hard to curb at first, but you’ll learn that it helps increase your positivity a lot.
Positive non-verbal communication can go a long way in showing people that you are happy, approachable, and successful in all that you do. Take the time to think about your own life and the people in it. Some are more positive than others. Picture them, or watch them, and see how their non-verbal cues appeal to you. Then, you can pick those up for yourself and use them as a model for your own positivity. If you have someone who specifically catches your attention for negative non-verbal communication, you can also learn by example through NOT doing the things that they do to give off the negative impression that you get.
It doesn’t matter how well you’ve mastered the art of communication if your non-verbal cues aren’t in line with a positive impression or ‘vibe’. You really need to take a conscious look at yourself and how your body language can affect your relationships, your life, and ultimately, your success.