Friday, September 13, 2013

Understanding Nonverbal Communication

When selling direct to consumers, nonverbal communication is important.

Waving "Hi" to a neighbor; slouching in a chair; looking intently into the eyes of a loved one. These are all ways that we communicate without using words.

Nonverbal communication takes many forms and can convey diverse meanings. However, its significance is often overlooked. Nonverbal communication can actually convey more meaning than verbal communication. Researchers estimate that at least 60 percent of the impact of a conversation or message comes from nonverbal factors such as eye behavior, gestures, posture and voice.

Your relationships with customers can be enhanced by not only having an awareness of the ways messages are conveyed non-verbally  but by taking steps to improve your nonverbal communication. Consider the following suggestions from Successful Nonverbal Communication, by Dale G. Leathers (1986):

·         Try to sustain eye contact with customers when serving them or having a conversation with them. Avoid shifting your eyes too much, or looking down or away from customers.
·         Keep hands and elbows away from your body. When listening to customers nod your head and smile. Avoid fidgeting, hand-wringing and touching your face.
·         Keep an open and relaxed posture. Lean forward slightly. Avoid crossing your arms and standing rigidly.

·         Speak at an appropriate volume and rate. Vary your pitch. Avoid speaking in a monotone, using too many pauses and "ahs," and repeating words.

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