Non-Verbal Communication on Teams
Although we tend to think of communication as the exchange of verbal or written messages, communication often takes place without speaking or writing a word. When used appropriately, non-verbal communication between team members can help express meaning, navigate difficult situations and build better working relationships.
Sometimes, however, non-verbal messages can hinder your ability to express meaning. For example, when a team member asks you how you think his/her presentation went, you respond, "It was great." But, by your tone of voice, posture, etc., you express a more negative reaction. Whatever message you intend to send, the non-verbal signals you use will influence the way it is received.
The next time you have an important message to communicate to a team member, keep these non-verbal cues in mind:
- Eye Contact. An appropriate amount of eye contact demonstrates interest and indicates that you are being honest. Too much eye contact can be interpreted as aggressive and may make your team member uncomfortable.
- Facial Expressions. Your facial expressions convey your emotions and are monitored frequently by those with whom you communicate. Frowning can indicate disapproval or that you are upset. Smiling creates an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness, allowing others to feel comfortable.