Non-verbal communication has a huge impact on different areas of our lives, including our work. Therefore, it is important to know what exactly we broadcast through this communication channel and how it can be used to build a career and relationships with colleagues.
Our postures, facial expressions and intonations constantly communicate something to others, including those with whom we interact on work issues. Researchers from the University of Ottawa have taken a look at the research on non- verbal communication at work and combined it into a largereview
Nonverbal Behavior and Communication within the Work environment: A Audit and an Motivation for Investigate
. As a result, scientists have identified five main functions of non-verbal behavior in the work environment.
1. Manifestation of personality
Body language, facial expressions and voice give people an idea of who we are. By depriving colleagues of this information, we risk creating the wrong impression.
A person who does not send any non-verbal signals may be perceived by others as tough or disinterested in work.
This does not mean that already at the first meeting with the employer, you need to demonstrate to him the full range of your non-verbal capabilities. For a positive assessment, it is enough to prove yourself a little. So, during the interview , you can use a short handshake, a smile, eye contact and nods. A moderate number of gestures to increase the expressiveness of speech is also appropriate.
By the way, it turned out that during the interview, non-verbal signals are especially important for women. In their case, a firm handshake can make a better impression than a long and detailed account of past accomplishments.
2. Demonstration of power
Non-verbal cues provide information about the social hierarchy in a given setting, especially in the workplace where there is a vertical aspect of relationships.
Power is demonstrated through appropriate postures. The following principle often operates: the more space a person occupies (for example, when spreading his legs), the more confident and strong he seems. Power also manifests itself in the fact that a person controls or interrupts the conversation (the same applies to eye contact), uses an offensive intonation and a serious facial expression. At the same time, women who demonstrate aggression or are noticeably angry may be evaluated by others more negatively than men.
As for the difference in cultural perception, researchers agree that most power signals are interpreted by residents of different countries in the same way. Although there are exceptions. For example, if in America a person who puts his feet on the table can be perceived as a real boss, then in Japan – only as an ignoramus.
To apply this knowledge in practice, you must first understand the service hierarchy.
Trying to show power in front of your boss is not the best career strategy. The circumstance is diverse in the event that you’re a pioneer. But in this case, sex things.It should be remembered that excessive manifestation of anger can play a cruel joke on a woman.
And, of course, cultural norms must be taken into account: if you plan to work in a foreign company, it makes sense to at least familiarize yourself with the business etiquette adopted in the chosen country .
3. Motivating people
You can influence people not only through a demonstration of power. Effective leadership can also be based on charisma. A charismatic leader is able to reinforce his words with a display of enthusiasm and passion. To do this, he should maintain eye contact with the audience (at the same time, the gaze should not be fixed, otherwise it can be regarded as aggression), speak fluently, confidently and non-monotonously, and also demonstrate his own enthusiasm through facial expressions and gestures.
Another component of charisma is the ability to achieve the location of the audience, literally infect them with your idea. In this case, it is necessary to maintain an open pose, show interest in others and use a time-tested technique – a sincere smile.
4. Creating harmonious relationships
Non-verbal communication can also help in building favorable horizontal relationships in a team. To gain the trust of colleagues and expand your social circle, you can use the good old method of mirroring. It consists in repeating the posture and movements of the interlocutor.
It also turned out that compassion is important for building good relationships. To demonstrate it, a light innocent touch on a person who shares problems with you or looks unhappy is enough. After such tactile contact, communication is instantly established even between strangers.
The main thing is not to overdo it: the touch should be free from any sexual or aggressive overtones.
5. Display of emotions
Showing emotions through non-verbal cues can have a beneficial effect on the work environment.
First, a vivid demonstration of the feelings of one of the colleagues can cause a chain reaction. In this scenario, the positive attitude of the employee is transmitted to the rest, which increases the efficiency of the workflow.
Secondly, emotional manifestations can serve as a kind of barometer in the team. For example, if one of the employees leaves the boss’s office angry or upset, for the rest it will be a signal not to disturb the boss at the moment, which, in turn, will help to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Of course, work requires composure and endurance, but this does not mean that you need to completely hide emotions.
An attempt to keep a good face on a bad game will be regarded by colleagues rather as insincerity. The trick is that the more a person hides emotions, the more likely they are to seep through small, almost indistinguishable expressions. And that’s what colleagues think.
In addition, having to always keep a face is very exhausting. That is why they talk about the exhausting “emotional work” of the service personnel.
In any case, when you are aware of what you feel, and adequately manifest it, the atmosphere around becomes more favorable.
What is the result
Canadian reviewers emphasize that non-verbal communication at work is still fertile ground for research. But even the conclusions that scientists have already come to can be usefully applied in practice.
At a minimum, we should not forget that our body can tell others a little more than we suspect (or want). And it is better to use this language for your own good. Or at least learn it first.
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