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Nonverbal Communication Skills Speaks Louder Than Words

Updated on August 26, 2015

Your Image Is Worth A Thousand Words, Use It Wisely.

Imagine you are a supervisor conducting a job interview, you received the interviewee's resume a week before the scheduled meeting and it is extremely impressive. The interviewee earned degrees from top-notch universities and has a wealth of experience that would be an asset to your corporate fortune 500 company.

Ok, let us fast forward to the day of the interview. The interviewee arrived 15 minutes late. His suit was wrinkled and one side of his shirt was tucked in his pants, while the other side hung out of his pants with what looked like spaghetti and coffee stains. When you shook his hand you noticed his fingernails were dirty and his handshake was weak. He slouched in the chair throughout the interview. He made limited eye contact with you and talked mostly to the floor. Overall, he appeared timid and shy, lacked the self-confidence that is needed to make quick accurate decisions in your company's environment.

Clearly this interviewee did not paint the picture of a successful person. He made a negative lasting impression in the interviewer's mind.

Would you have hired this interviewee? I wouldn't have hired him. This interviewee appears to need extensive training, in addition to, the usual job orientation and productivity training. The interviewee needs to strengthen his nonverbal communication skills.

Make Nonverbal Communication Work for You

Human communication is a complex process and nonverbal communication is one of the components that most people demonstrate difficulty mastering. Nonverbal communication is the process of connecting to others through visual and auditory cues such as: posture, facial expression, colors, signs, symbols, gestures, and vocal tone.

Although the following statement is verbal “actions speak louder than words”, it pinpoints the impact of visual information in our society, perhaps it is because we think in pictures. Most importantly, we transform auditory messages into motion pictures in our mind. Nonverbal communication is how we influence people to trust and believe in us.

Let us go back to the interviewee, how can he paint the picture of success at his next job interview? First and foremost, he should improve his nonverbal communication skills.

7 Tips To Improving Nonverbal Communication Skills

Tips to improving nonverbal communication skills:

1. Adequate personal hygiene: groom, shower, shave, clean under fingernails

2. Clothing should suit the occasion (clean and iron)

3. Improve posture and stance (excess belly fat can have an adverse affect on your posture)

4. Make eye contact, smile, and exude self-confidence

5. If you lack confidence join a gym (check with your doctor), Zuma and Yoga can help you gain confidence

6. Healthy diet - "you are what you eat" (when you eat healthy you feel great inside and out)

7. Vocal hygiene

Strong Image, Strong Communication Skills

Think about a person who slouches in a chair, slumps when walking, or wears wrinkled and stains clothes all the time. What kind of reputation does this person have? It is probably not a reputation you and I would like to have in our community and surrounding environment.

You would probably not consider this person a professional. Professional people should present themselves in a professional manner at all times, whether they are on or off the job. Don't get me wrong, we all have our bad days, perhaps we forgot to pick up our dry-cleaning or have dropped food on our clothing from time to time. The situations I have just described should not be consistent. If this is consistent in your life and you are seeking to become a professional, you may want to seek the help of an image consultant but until then, hear are some ways you can boost your self-esteem.

People can boost their self-esteem and exude confidence by simply implementing nonverbal communication skills in their lives.

Here are some ways to use nonverbal communication skills effectively.

1) Practice standing with your shoulders straight up at all times, use your core (abdomen) muscles to align your body.

2) Practice sitting the way a gentleman or woman should sit.

3) Use various forms of etiquette at all times.

4) Invest in at least one power suit.

5) Lastly, be mindful of your nonverbal communication performance.

Cynthia Willis, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Corporate Speech-Language Pathologist

Former Professional Model

Image Consultant


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