Non-Verbal Cues – What Are You Really Saying To Others?

Are you in the habit of noticing your non-verbal communication with others? I’m guessing the answer is no, it’s not something most of us tend to focus on – yet being aware of this is one of the most powerful ways you can improve your relationships.

A lot of the time we tend to think of communication as being open, and easily recognisable; you say something, I hear it… I say something back, you hear it… and so it goes on.

Much of the time, though, we communicate indirectly and in subtle ways. We do this by the signals we give each other, through our tone of voice, our facial expression and body language. In fact, nonverbal communication accounts for a huge percentage, around 90% of how we put messages across

It’s very helpful to understand that the messages we exchange with each other are done so on a subconscious level. A person may not be fully focused on how you are standing for example, or even your tone of voice – but they’ll sure pick up on your true message – regardless of the words you are using.

Here are some handy tips to notice when you are communicating.

Be Aware of Making Eye Contact

Make sure to establish eye contact when speaking to others. It shows them that you’re interested in what they are saying. Making direct eye contact provides others with a sense of trust in what you are saying and connects you together.

Be Aware of Your Tone of Voice

Listen to your tone of voice as you speak to another person. How do you sound? Whiny? Angry? Firm and calm? Adjusting your tone of voice will make a huge positive difference in a conversation.
Try to avoid sighing or grunting.

Be Aware of Your Proximity

Pay attention to your proximity to others. Take notice if the person you’re communicating with, keeps stepping back and so create some distance between the two of you. Being too close can come across as being aggressive, so follow the person’s lead and give them space to feel comfortable in your presence.

Be Aware Of your Posture

Notice your posture. If you are slouching you are giving the person the message that you are not interested in what they are saying so straighten up – for their sake.
Folding your arms across your body is a barrier, it’s a way of saying I am not comfortable in your presence or I don’t want to connect with you.

Be Aware Of Your Breathing

Notice your breathing if you are in a stressful situation with someone. Count your breaths slowly in and out and allow your body to relax. This will help adjust your tone of voice, and body posture.

Try to also pay attention to the other person’s non-verbal signals. These signals convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, he or she might be uncomfortable or hiding the truth.

I hope you find these tips and skills helpful. This post is part of the free communication skills course on

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  • How to Actively Listen
  • How to Be Heard
  • How to Understand Non-Verbal Cues
  • How to Talk About Sensitive Issues

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