Nonverbal communication – why is it worth understanding?

Marketing strategy
Nonverbal communication

Non-verbal communication is "louder" than any spoken words. It reveals our true intentions, feelings, emotions and attitudes and subconsciously reveals to observers the essence of our message. Although body language was known long before speech and writing existed, we still strive to find ways to fully use the potential of body language. What role does it play in the process of transmitting information and which elements of non-verbal communication require our special attention in achieving business goals? We give you a hint.

According to anthropologists, 55% of our message is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and only 7% is the words spoken. We interpret most non-verbal behavior unconsciously. To fully use the potential of non-verbal communication, we must first of all be aware of our body language. Only then will we be able to control them and adapt them to the circumstances. Observing others and drawing conclusions that can improve our non-verbal language is also helpful. The most important thing, however, is to learn to maintain consistency between what we say and what we show in our behavior.

Body language – you are what you show to the world

Did you know that by practicing specific gestures and using them at the right moments, you can change reality? Your body and non-verbal communication affect not only your mental state, but also the behavior of people around you. Our gestures convey information about our origins, expectations, emotions, self-esteem and temperamental characteristics. Although they are most often sent and received unconsciously, it is definitely worth learning to take control over them.

One of the basic competencies of successful people is the ability to use their body to strengthen their own image. The way you present yourself, move, stand and gesture affects how you are perceived by others. Even before you start speaking, those around you already know enough about you to form an opinion about you.

The basis of effective non-verbal communication is the ability to read the signals sent by others. Careful observation and quick drawing of conclusions are key here. The ability to read information transmitted non-verbally can be an extremely helpful "superpower" that will forever change the way we interpret the world.

Non-verbal and verbal communication – basic differences

While the main purpose of verbal communication is to convey information, facts and data and to induce others to behave in a certain way, the role of non-verbal communication is to signal our emotions, attitude, attitude and feelings. Our body language can enhance or weaken verbal messages. Individual elements of body language serve to open, complement and close verbal communication, or even replace it completely. Artificially controlling body language can also be used to camouflage, hide or distort reality.

Gestures are a much more effective message than words. Especially if we want to convey the emotions that accompany us at a specific moment. Signals sent during non-verbal communication are very easy to miss or misinterpret.

Sending non-verbal messages that are inconsistent with what we say directly may cause dissonance and confusion and make it difficult to reach agreement. In order to draw attention to what we are saying, we often automatically raise our voices, and when we lack words, we involuntarily replace them with gestures. No wonder, they are more universal

Nonverbal communication

Both verbal and non-verbal communication they serve to build community. In order to emphasize our own identity, we create not only a separate language, but often also a system of gestures that only members of our tribe can properly decode.

What are the characteristics of body language?

In the animal world non-verbal speech is the basic form of communication. Although humans have significantly developed communication skills with the development of speech, body language still remains the most reliable source of information about our intentions, feelings and emotions.

Non-verbal speech means that you don't have to be able to read other people's minds to discover their true intentions. You just need to be aware of the signals they send and interpret them appropriately. The meaning of non-verbal speech depends on the context in which it is used. A given movement, gesture, voice or facial expression can be interpreted differently, depending on the circumstances.

Our body language is the result of innate behaviors as well as skills learned as part of functioning in a specific culture. By imitating the non-verbal speech of another person, we naturally create an invisible thread of understanding, which can be an excellent introduction to further communication and building deeper relationships.

By creating a brand identity, you care about its image

Elements of non-verbal communication that you should control

When analyzing reality, we filter information in three ways: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Considering all these ways, basic elements of non-verbal communication we can classify as follows:

  1. Gestures, including illustrators (supporting our verbal message), emblems (gestures with symbolic meaning), regulators (gestures controlling the flow of conversation) and adapters (unconscious gestures, triggered by emotions or tension)
  2. Facial expressions, i.e. facial movements reflecting our emotions at a given moment
  3. Body posture, head tilt, or positioning of arms, hips or legs, which reflect our attitude towards the conversation
  4. Distance and personal space thanks to which we create our zone of safety and comfort
  5. Eye contact, eye movements, and pupil dilation and constriction that reflect our level of interest
  6. The tone, pace and time of speech, influencing the perception of the words we say
  7. Touch and physical contact, thanks to which we build a bond with the interlocutor
  8. Paralinguistic sounds, e.g. humming, whistling, clicking
  9. Fragrance, naturally or artificially created
  10. Clothes and makeup

Elements of non-verbal communication determine a specific style of communication. Expressive people use a wide range of gestures, which makes them seem more open to others. Reserved people use body language very subtly, which is why they are perceived with distance. In turn, assertive people know how to use elements of body language to clearly articulate their needs and set boundaries. In turn, diplomatic people are masters at adapting their communication to the environment.

The importance of non-verbal communication in business

"The most important thing in a conversation is to hear what is not said." These words from Peter F. Drucker ring true, especially in business. Skillful use of non-verbal communication helps increase trust in business relationships. It directly translates into the authenticity and transparency of actions and sincerity of intentions.

Misunderstandings and ineffective communication translate into real business losses in the form of broken contracts or unfinished transactions. Non-verbal communication affects the effectiveness of offer presentation, negotiation results and the ability to build long-term relationships.

Controlling your body language is a sign of professionalism, composure and self-confidence. In the business world, you don't always talk directly about your intentions, fears or desires. The ability to read the subtle cues sent by our bodies is one of the conditions for success.

Nonverbal communication

Nowadays, more and more interactions are moving to the digital world, which creates new interpersonal challenges. Non-verbal communication presented through the prism of a screen can be interpreted completely differently than what we have used so far in direct contact. The growing popularity of films, videoconferences and webinars has made us look much more closely at our body language in search of opportunities to reach our audiences even more effectively.

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