Using non-verbals to communicate across barriers

Traveling is my passion. Every time I plan a vacation, I look to go somewhere new, to see something different. Over the holiday break, I had the good fortune to travel to China, and it was amazing! I climbed the Great Wall on New Year’s Day, and according to Chinese culture, I am now a hero. What a great way to begin 2016!

Communicating across barriers

One of the things I like best about traveling, whether it’s to another country or to another state in the U.S.A, is interacting with the local people in each place. You gain so much insight into the culture and customs.

While differences in language and dialect can be a barrier (as they certainly were in China), a determined communicator will find a way to get his or her point across. Facial expressions, gestures, body language, and tone of voice go a long way toward communicating intent when words alone won’t do.

It was in this manner that I learned to say the Chinese equivalent of B.F.F. – Best Friends Forever – to indicate my relationship to my friend and travel companion. How cool is that?

Are you a determined communicator?

Sometimes we become so focused on the words we choose to convey our message that we forget about the non-verbal component of our communication. Is your message not as effective as you would like with potential clients, current customers, or colleagues?

Consider enhancing your message to help get your point across:

  1. Body language: Develop body language that is open and demonstrates interest. Refrain from crossing your arms and creating a barrier. Square your shoulders to your listener and hold your head high.
  2. Hand gestures: Use hand gestures to be more persuasive. Influence your listener with gestures that support any comparisons, numbers, or actions you are describing. For example, point up or down, indicate numbers by counting on your hand, or emulate actions like driving.
  3. Tone of voice: Match your tone of voice to your message. Convey emotion and enthusiasm to engage your listener.
  4. Smile: Smile a genuine smile. This facial expression will make you appear more likable, approachable, and trustworthy.

Let your body speak. You too will be a hero in 2016!