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Let your body do the talking: 5 steps to improve your nonverbal communication skills

Presentation coach and author of Unlock Your Business Voice Simon de Cintra has seen first hand the impact body language can have on a business’s potential. Here, he provides five steps on how you can improve your nonverbal communication skills as an entrepreneur.
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We all make the effort to improve our verbal communication techniques. However, how we deliver our desired message through nonverbal means is often neglected in the workplace.

1. Don’t try to be neutral!

This is the most common mistake I have encountered in nonverbal communication over my years as a presentation coach. Neutral” tactics, such as trying to have a blank facial expression and prevent their gestures from portraying any indication of emotions, rarely sees results.

“Neutral” behaviour, despite being considered the “safe” option, actually creates the feeling that you are disinterested in what the audience has to say, distracted by something else or are just being rude. This leaves a negative impression which can be detrimental for your business relationships with employees, suppliers and your customers.

2. Be confident in your posture

In order to lead as an entrepreneur you need to portray confidence. Your body language has a huge part to play in delivering this effectively. A strong handshake, a wide stance and smiling will all help you achieve this.

Stand up tall as though you are on a puppet string and someone is pulling your string tight, avoid fidgeting or looking down at the floor when conversing with others. You need to be taken seriously and respected as an entrepreneur hence why your posture is so important!

3. Keep good eye contact

Maintaining a level of good eye contact is a tricky art. Too much eye contact and you will come across as too intense or intimidating, whereas too little can give the impression that you are uncomfortable or nervous. Once you have mastered the perfect amount of eye contact you will be able to implement this nonverbal communication skill to help build all future business relationships positively.

Unbeknownst to many, your eyes relay how you are feeling all on their own, thus a recipient may not believe what you are saying if your eyes are darting around the room. This is why you must maintain good eye contact, especially when trying to sell to a customer.

4. Change your tone when necessary

In your role as an entrepreneur you will be likely to be involved in all areas of your business from Human Resources, Accounts to Sales – all of which will require a change in your tone of voice. You would be ignorant to assume you can use the same tone in all situations, you need to be mindful of what tone is required.

A sales pitch to a big client will need to have an informatic, enthusiastic and formal tone of voice whereas a performance review with an employee will entail a compassionate and understanding tone.

5. Do not jump in headfirst

You cannot change your nonverbal communication skills over night, like most things in business to implement a change can be time-consuming. I recommend you practice in a safe environment first what changes you would like to implement instead of jumping in headfirst at work with the changes.

People are quick to formulate an impression about you, so it is best to perfect your nonverbal communication in a private environment instead of trialling the techniques as you go which can result in a negative or confusing message being given off by your body language.

Simon de Cintra founded MyFirstTrainers® and has over 25 years experience in business. He provides coaching and mentoring for people who are looking to gain confidence with their public speaking skills or want to learn how to lead and influence others.

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