While speaking and listening are natural focuses for anyone who wants to improve their professional or business communication, body language and non-verbal cues are vital aspects of communication that are often overlooked. To be a truly great communicator, you not only need to be aware of the non-verbal cues that you are sending to others, but also be attuned to the non-verbal signals your communication partner is transmitting. Today, we’ll wrap up our two-part series on how to effectively read other people’s non-verbal cues.
Watch for boredom: A person will almost never verbally express that they’re bored with the conversation or topic at hand, but if you closely monitor your conversation partner’s non-verbal cues, you’re likely to find that they may not be as interested as you had hoped. Picking up on boredom and redirecting the conversation so it sparks your listener’s interest is crucial in professional and personal communication. Some classic, non-verbal cues that signify boredom are distraction, repetitive movements (such as foot tapping or finger drumming), restless fidgeting, a lack of eye contact (often accompanied by a fixed gaze) and of course, repetitively glancing at a watch or smartphone.
Read all the cues: It’s important to note that non-verbal cues are far from absolute. An action that may constitute anxiety or restlessness for one person may mean nothing at all for another. For this reason, it’s important to read a person’s non-verbal cues as a package rather than focusing on individual actions. An isolated action may mean nothing, but when non-verbal cues occur in clusters, they are much more likely to be significant. Take note of all the signals a person may be sending, and take stock as to what they may mean when taken together as a whole.
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