We all know that non-verbal messages are important, and there are plenty of statistics to back this up, but what can you do to make the most of this part of your communication?
It’s said that body language conveys up to 50% of your overall message in ‘everyday’ communication, with your voice carrying 40% and the words only accounting for 10%. There’s always been a debate about when these figures apply, not to mention how accurate they are, but what’s clear is that the soft skills we use in our communication are hugely significant in how we can connect, educate and persuade.
Whether you are making a presentation or taking part in a media interview there are many aspects of body language that you can work on and improve (read our; ‘Bluewood Top Tips for your soft skills’ for specific areas to think about), and it doesn’t matter if your audience; is a big or small group, a print media journalist or a Sky News presenter, the basics you need to get right are all the same:
• Developing your posture and stance will help you to boost your confidence and look more open.
• Making sure you keep regular eye contact will show you are engaged and interested in the other person.
• Then there’s your voice – if a speaker doesn’t get this right they will soon be distracting the audience, or worse, sending them off to sleep (this is especially important on radio and TV as the broadcast process often flattens your voice).
• Finally, one aspect we often have to remind people in the spotlight to do is smile – we say in our broadcast radio training sessions that you can ‘hear a smile’ and we mean it. A smile will lighten your voice and make you sound more enthusiastic and warm.
All of these elements can help add to your authority, endear you to the audience and make them more inclined to listen or perhaps more importantly, remember you. Some are easier to develop than others but they are each worth the effort as you can use them in all the face-face communication you do.
As we say in our top tips; there are a lot of elements to think about when it comes to soft skills but no one is really a natural at it, some people just practise enough to make it look like they are. By objectively looking at areas for improvement, and getting feedback from others (it’s obviously something we cover in our training sessions too), you can evolve your personal style to make little changes and get big results.
Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.com – June 2015