Non-verbal Communication

 

ralphwaldoemersonquote
Figure 1.

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).

Lotto face
Figure 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

References

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

Describe what exercising Emotional Intelligence means?

What is emotional intelligence? Cenere et al, (2015, pp.415) defines; “Recognising your own emotional input and the emotions of others, in interpreting a situation.”

Goleman (2005) breaks down this definition into a framework of five elements.

Emotional Intelligence

Figure 1: Emotional intelligence diagram   Source: www.zenithnt.com.au

When each of these five elements are utilised together we are said to be exercising our emotional intelligence. When you use the skill of emotional intelligence you are someone who is self-aware, you can self-regulate your emotions, you are motivated, you can show empathy and you have social skills.

The Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP) further simplifies this theory into the following statement;

“Recognise, understand and manage our own emotions.

Recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others”. (Ihhp.com, 2016)

We can use this awareness as an opportunity to understand the influence of how our emotions can drive our behaviour. Furthermore how our behaviour can positively and negatively influence others.

A practical application of emotional intelligence is communication in the workplace. We can exercise this skill set to decide on the best approach, with regard for a person’s situation and emotional state to change their opinion or behaviour (Goleman 2011 cited in Cenere et al, pp. 221). It is a fine line, one that should not be crossed into coercion or manipulation.

In the workplace, emotional intelligence is commonly regarded as being equally as important as technical skills. Leaders and managers are able to call upon this skill set to gain greater performance from their co-worker’s and associates, which in turn makes business more successful and produces better outcomes.

 

References

Cenere, P, Gill, R, Lawson, C & Lewis M 2015, Communication skills for business professionals, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Vic

Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.

Ihhp.com. (2016). Institute for Health and Human Potential. [online] Available at: http://www.ihhp.com/meaning-of-emotional-intelligence#accordion_16618874151 [Accessed 18 May 2016].

Figure 1: Digital image, viewed 19 May, 2016, http://zenithnt.com.au

Soft Skills

Let us take a look at a situation you have been in many times, one of going to your local doctor. You may have been to several doctors over the years and have finally settled on one that you can relate to. A doctor, that when you leave the surgery, you don’t think ‘oh the bedside manner was terrible’.

william-osler-scientist-quote-the-good-physician-treats-the-disease
Figure 1.

It is this notion that goes someway to explaining what soft skills are. The doctor may have an exceptional technical knowledge of his job, however that is only half the skill needed. Building an interpersonal relationship is the other half, making the patient feel at ease, included and informed.

If we now transfer this knowledge to the workplace we can see soft skills promote and foster a cohesive work environment. The actions of listening, problem solving, engaging, presenting and resolving conflict all come down to building and maintaining relationships with people. (Mindtools.com, 2016)

Soft skills include such notions as integrity, communication, courtesy, responsibility, social skills, positive attitude, professionalism, flexibility, teamwork, and work ethic (Robles, 2012). Soft skills are equally as important as hard or technical skills in the overall shape of a business. Interactions with customers, colleagues, clients, supervisors and other stake holders are impacted by what soft skills an individual brings to these situations. (Mindtools.com, 2016)

Sage_Human_Capital_Soft_Skills
Figure 2.

It is your technical knowledge that will initially get your foot in the door, it is your soft skills that will open many doors along your career journey. Your communication skills, your work ethic, your attitude, your emotional intelligence and a range of other personal attributes are the soft skills that have become so important in business today.

Strength in relationships born from positive attitudes is what promotes great team performance, and leads people to contribute strongly to the organisation’s strategy and vision. Each is an element that is essential for personal and organisational success.

References:

Cenere, P. (2015). Communication skills for business professionals. Port Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.

Mindtools.com. (2016). Why Soft Skills Matter: Making Sure Your Hard Skills Shine. [online] Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_34.htm [Accessed 7 May 2016].

Robles, M. (2012). Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), pp.453-465.

Image credit:

Figure 1: Google Images

Figure 2: