Non Verbal Communication in Business

Krista Sylvester- Writer


“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker


Sweaty hands. Fidgety feet. Slouched posture. We’ve all been there!

Whether it’s a live presentation in front of others or an important business deal sealed with a handshake, it’s important to strengthen not only the words that come out of your mouth but to also reinforce the non-verbal “words” that come out of your body language.

It’s been said by academics that non-verbal cues make up 93 per cent of daily communication and about 55 per cent of that is body language, with another 38 per cent being based on the tone of voice. In fact, psychological researcher Professor Albert Mehrabian says that leaves only seven per cent of communication being actual words. 

We’ve all heard stats like this before and we know body language is important but how do we really get our ideas across without using just our words, which make up such a small percentage of daily communication. That’s a good question, so I’m here to help.

While many people think they are reading other people’s body language cues properly, they might be forgetting what their own body language is presenting in the process.

Posture. Your hand gestures. Your eye contact – it all matters, and there is a lot more to it than meets the eye – literally!  

Your body language is comprised of more than just your posture and contains many different facets including, but not limited to:

Facial expressions – Smiling is key, but a genuine smile is best. Be careful you’re not frowning or smirking while other people talk.

Eye contact – Eye contact exudes confidence, but don’t overdo it! Too much eye contact can actually be intimidating to others.

Hands and hand gestures – Try not to over-exaggerate your hand motions, it can be distracting and for some, it’s annoying, too.

Upper body – Don’t fidget with your pen and don’t cross those arms! Upper body also includes posture, so don’t forget to sit up tall and confident.

Lower body – Don’t close off your legs to the people you’re engaging with because it makes them feel like you’re not interested. Try not to fidget with your feet or legs too much.  

When it comes to body language, confidence is key and you should always be aware of the image you’re portraying, which is why it’s crucial to be the real you.  And who is the real you? Well, confident, intelligent, and true to you… that’s who!

Projecting your own image through body language is more natural when you’re being true to yourself rather than pretending to be something different - especially when you need to focus on not only your words but your body language, too!

This is what makes non-verbal communication so effective – your words effortlessly flow while your body language naturally supports your ideas with poise. Appearing calm, confident and knowledgeable is imperative when you are presenting your ideas. Knowing how you appear to others through body language will help you put forth your best self – which is your true self.

Understanding your own body language can strengthen your ability to read between the lines of other people’s physical cues. Just remember, first impressions can last a lifetime and the success of a business encounter can often depend on what your demeanor says about you.

When it comes to being the real you in business it’s a simple as remembering why you’re doing this in the first place. Be passionate. Be engaging. Be true to yourself. And then do all of that with your body language!