Employees usually underestimate the effect of their body language and their non-verbal communication. Your body language and facial expressions are very important in social settings, meetings, interviews and everyday work life. They can affect people’s perceptions of your intentions, as non-verbal communication often conveys more to listeners than the words you speak.

Employees will be able to send stronger messages to their audience when their verbal language matches their non-verbal language. Here are six non-verbal signals that every employee should consider in the workplace.

Facial Expressions

Your face reveals both the type and the intensity of your feelings. Your eyes are especially effective for indicating attention and interest, influencing others, regulating interaction and establishing dominance. For example, in the Arab world eye contact is very important when you are in an interview or a meeting; it conveys confidence and implies respect for the other party.

Facial expressions are not only useful for expressing feelings, but can also be used for hiding them. Employees sometimes use fake facial expressions to hide their anger or frustration toward an unsatisfied customer or a disappointed boss. Make sure that you use the right facial expressions in the right context.

Gestures and Postures

Whether conscious or unconscious, gestures and postures can reveal whether you feel confident or nervous, friendly or hostile, assertive or passive, powerful or powerless. Being able to effectively interpret your audience’s gestures and postures can lead to successful conversations and meetings. Angry people may lean back with their hands crossed over their chest or may lean forward with their fists clenched. Acknowledging these acts and their implications may direct the employee to alter the flow of the conversation and its intensity level. Moreover, employees should also focus on their own gestures and postures to avoid sending unwanted or negative non-verbal messages.

Vocal Characteristics

Your tone and volume of voice, your accent, your speaking pace and all the little um’s and ah’s that creep into your speech say a lot about who you are, your relationship with the audience and the underlying emotions of your words. Being too quite may give the impression that you are shy with no opinion on the subject that is being discussed. On the other hand, being too loud may limit other people’s participation in the conversation because it conveys aggressiveness and dominance. Respect your audience by maintaining a moderate volume of voice while giving others a chance to participate.

Personal Appearance

People respond to others very much on the basis of their physical appearance. Employees should always maintain a presentable look by taking good care of their grooming, clothing, accessories and style. If your goal is to make a good impression, adopt the style of the people you want to impress. When talking about work clothing, it’s very important to take into account the type of job you are dealing with. Employees who do not have to meet external clients or attend business meetings can dress casually so as to be comfortable to work long hours in front of their computer screens. On the other hand, employees who meet customers or visitors on a regular basis should maintain a professional image by dressing formally. For more information on Dressing for Success, visit the Akhtaboot Blog http://blog.akhtaboot.com.

Touch

Touch is a very important way to convey warmth, comfort and reassurance. Nevertheless, it is a very sensitive issue when it comes to the workplace and should be handled with careful attention. While many people see a hand on a shoulder or a pat on the back as a valuable way to convey encouragement or concern for another person’s well-being; sexual harassment fears have made many people avoid all types of touching other than good old handshakes. One helpful recommendation is to keep all types of touching professional and businesslike, this way you can communicate positive feelings and warmth to the other party without crossing the red line.

Time and Personal Space

Arriving to all meetings on time will definitely help you gain people’s respect in today’s business world. When it comes to interviews, the worst way to start one is to be late. Make sure that you have all the right directions and give yourself plenty of time to get there ahead of time.

In addition, take good care not to invade other people’s private spaces. Standing too close when talking to someone may either show respect or may implicate intruding. The best thing is to keep a moderate space between you and the one you are speaking to.

The interpretations of your non-verbal communication differ from one person to another and from one culture to another. Being able to read people’s faces, tone of voice and body language is definitely of great value for your career success and personal development. Following the above recommendations will help you advance your career and will definitely give you an edge over your job-seeker competition!

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