Communication is important at work, but nonverbal cues also matter.
Professionals use nonverbal communication to enhance presentations, resolve conflicts, and demonstrate active listening in meetings and conversations. In a diverse workplace, people can use nonverbal cues to communicate without a shared language or culture. They also help to show confidence and trustworthiness. Additionally, nonverbal cues help individuals understand how the workplace functions and the different levels of authority.
Young professionals should begin practicing this skill as early as possible, starting in graduate school. This way, when you graduate from UMBC, you’ll be prepared to enter the professional work environment.
The Power of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication uses facial expressions and body language to convey a message without speaking directly. Nonverbal communication is an essential instrument in enhancing your spoken communication.
When presenting, your words should focus on research. However, your body language should also convey confidence in your research. You can achieve this by standing tall and making eye contact with your audience.
Understanding Nonverbal Communication in Meetings
Eye contact is vital whether you are listening to or giving the presentation. To show you’re paying attention, look at the speaker or in their direction while they’re presenting. When presenting or speaking in a meeting, it is important to make eye contact with each person in the room. This demonstrates your interest in them.
The key to facial expressions is to first understand the tone of the meeting and then react accordingly. If the meeting is a celebration of the good work your team has done, feel free to show your enthusiasm on your face.
In meetings, it is better to appear confident. To do this, one should stand or sit up straight and avoid crossing their arms. This will leave you looking confident and approachable. Ensure to pivot your whole body towards the person speaking, as it demonstrates that you are paying attention.
Nonverbal Cues That Project Confidence
An important aspect of confidence is to break nervous habits. You can practice this in graduate school when giving presentations or sitting for an interview.
Start by identifying your habits and what triggers them. Do you have a habit of biting your nails? Do you often shake your leg? What behaviors can you modify?
When you catch yourself acting nervous, try deep breathing exercises, or replacing a nervous habit with a positive one. An example of replacement could be holding a pen instead of wringing your hands. Be sure to establish these routines and to celebrate successes.
Building Rapport Through Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal cues are also beneficial for networking. If you actively listen and show it with your body and eyes, the speaker will see and appreciate your attention.
Nonverbal cues like eye contact, good posture, and confidence make you seem friendlier and welcoming to others. The speaker will likely remember you and talk to you after the meeting. They want to discuss their research and create a new connection with you.
Navigating Challenges with Nonverbal Intelligence
When de-escalating conflicts with others also require nonverbal communication. Positive body language and facial expressions, such as eye contact and an open posture, indicate active listening.
Nonverbal communication is also beneficial when there are cultural differences. Consider which nonverbal cues are polite and offensive to people from different cultures. Eye contact may be polite In the United States, but it might appear unfriendly or rude to others.
Practical Tips for UMBC Graduate Students
When you talk in class or meet a professor, use positive body language to see how others view you. This is good for making friends and study groups with your classmates, which can be helpful for building connections on campus.
Remember these nonverbal cues when presenting and practice them. This will make meetings easy when you start working. This is best done when making these a habit.
Start by making goals for yourself and by practicing these routines daily. Practicing in front of a mirror allows you to see yourself as others see you.
You can use these nonverbal cues for any interactions, formal or informal. You can practice appearing friendly and confident when speaking with friends or even your local barista. By using these cues in your daily life, you can also build relationships in your personal life, not just at work.