columnist

OCT
2014

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Publisher : Magna Publications - CITADEL Pune

‘primera impresión’(first impression) has become so essential in our fast paced life today. With a lack of time in this highly competitive world, one gets a chance to talk only if he or she has qualified with the first and lasting impressions. So unless you make the people get up and notice you in a hall, meeting room, conference, social gathering, school or college; the chances are less that you’ll get it all right! The eternal question hence remains, what is it that makes a lasting impression?

As we continue embarking on a journey of self realization through my articles, our next element which contributes towards a pleasing personality is ‘Body Language’. Verbal language as such is a more recent technology than the body language, where your eyes; your energy converses much before you even start speaking. There's always so much more that can be conveyed visually, through the expressions, gestures etc... thereby making it a very powerful tool to initiate a communication. We had body language before we had speech and apparently 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.

Well they say, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.” Especially for women it becomes imperative to read between the lines in a professional as well as a social environment so that they can harness the maximum advantage without being misunderstood. Interestingly, it has been observed that body language changes given whatever environment and the outfit you are wearing since it is a natural way of your sub conscious mind to deal with it. For example, while having a verbal conversation with a guy in a party, you find that he has started leaning over to talk to you into your intimate zone of body proximity, you automatically take half a step back to make yourself feel comfortable. Verbal and nonverbal activity is a unified whole and theory and methodology should be organized or created to treat it as one of the most important tools of achieving a better personality

By developing your awareness of the signs and signals of body language, you can more easily understand other people and more effectively communicate with them. There are sometimes subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – movements, gestures, facial expressions and even shifts in our whole bodies that indicate a message. The way we talk, walk, sit and stand, says something about us and whatever is happening on the inside can be reflected on the outside. There are times when we send mixed messages too– we say one thing yet our body language reveals something different, so it has become mandatory to decipher this non-verbal language which helps us react to others and how they react to us!

There are many different types of nonverbal communication. Together, the following nonverbal signals and cues communicate your interest and investment in others:-

Facial expressions: The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.

Body movements and posture: Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a wealth of information to the world. This type of nonverbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and subtle movements.

Gestures: Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing or speaking animatedly—expressing ourselves with gestures often without thinking. However, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.

Eye contact: Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s response.

Touch: We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the messages given by the following: a weak handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a reassuring slap on the back, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on your arm.

Space: Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimacy and affection, aggression or dominance.

Voice: It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace, how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding, such as “ahh” and “uh-huh.” Think about how someone's tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.

The human body is the best picture of the human soul and therefore we should not undermine the importance of communication through body language at all! So here are 5 tips for you to improve yourselves right away and speed up on the pathway to success:-

1.If you smile, they smile: We subconsciously imitate the things we see. When I look at someone and smile, they tend to smile back. If you nod, the other person nods too..Some neuroscientist says that this type of mirroring behaviour is due to the “mirror neurons”. So smile and nod efficiently to connect with other people.

2.Crossing your ankles while standing:Women cross their ankles while standing because it is more comfortable, especially if they’re wearing high heels, but it is not a good idea, because it sends the message that you are shy and insignificant. A confident pose is to stand with your back straight and your ankles uncrossed.

3.Tipping or tilting your head:Many women tip or tilt their heads when listening to someone speak as an acknowledgement of hearing and understanding the other person, but this gesture may suggest to others that they are confused or agree with what the speaker says, when they really don't. I suggest that keeping the chin parallel to the ground, nodding very slightly is enough to acknowledge the other person and not seem desperate!

4.Making appropriate eye contact: While keeping your chin parallel to the ground, make good eye contact, which communicates that you are an intelligent person sincerely interested in what the other person has to say. Shifting eyes are a sign of being unsure and insecure.

5.Do away with nervous habits: Nervous mannerisms such as fidgeting, picking lint off your clothing, playing with your jewellery or Smartphone or twisting or throwing back your hair are all signs that you are nervous and not confident, and these gestures make sure that you won’t be taken seriously. Nervous habits tend to come out when you’re breathing rapidly, so train yourself to breathe low and comfortably in tense situations. Now that you know what moves to make, you can take a stance that can help you succeed. So start working on yourself right away in order to achieve success in every sphere of the world...relationships, work place or social life. Share your concerns and queries with me at divyajaitly@gmail.com and always remember this eternal philosophy:-

Watch your thoughts, for they become words;
Watch your words, for they become actions;
Watch your actions, for they become habits;
Watch your habits, for they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!