Non-verbal communication is essential to a message being received as intended. According to some experts, as much as 90% of communication is non-verbal. You will be communicating to your audience in many more ways than simply through the words you are speaking. For this reason, time spent practicing your speech or presentation will not be wasted.
Cenere et al (2015) discuss the following as being the main types of non-verbal communication; clothing, facial expressions, gaze, gestures, body language and movement, posture, silence or pauses, tone of voice and paralanguage.(Cenere et al, 2015, pp. 355). From a communicator’s point of view these behaviours are important, if we can tailor our non-verbal communication to the audience we will have a greater understanding of how our audience may be receiving our message (Costigan, 2016, lesson 8, pg 2).
What you do sends a message to the audience, it could make or break your speech. If the presenter’s words and body language don’t match, the audience will believe the non-verbal cues instead of the spoken words. This can undermine the speaker’s intentions and also have an impact on how the message is received. Sarcasm is an example of this. If words and body language are aligned, the message comes across as genuine and will more likely to be received positively (Cenere et al 2015). Your awareness to this type of communication is a skill that with practice can be developed and improved upon.
Learning the non-verbal language is an important step to being able to present a successful speech. Interpreting non-verbal language, controlling your own body language and emotions is a recipe for success.(Phutela, 2015)
Figure 3. Mr. Bean at a Restaurant
Cenere, P. 2015. Communication skills for business professionals. Port Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.
Costigan, L 2016, ‘Lesson 8: Non-verbal communication’, course notes, COMM11003: Communication in Professional Contexts, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au
Gina London, September 2013 https://ginalondon.wordpress.com/
Phutela, D. 2015. The Importance of Non-Verbal Communication. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 9(4), pp.p43-49.
Figure 1: Digital image, viewed 19 May 2016, www.brightdrops.com
Figure 2: Digital image, viewed 19 May 2016, https://images.google.com/
Figure 3: Mr Bean, viewed 19 May 2016, www.youtube.com