Apr., 18, 2006
The Silent Language
There is a language that everyone speaks. It’s not taught in any classrooms and it doesn’t have grammar, spelling or pronunciation. However, it is an extremely important language. This is the language of nonverbal communication- what your body posture, face, eye contact and gestures about you.
Eye contact- In many countries, for example, Muslim countries, direct eye contact is a sign of disrespect. Americans use eye contact to indicate understanding, interest, and confidence. When someone is talking to you, try to maintain good eye contact.
Hand shake- It’s customary to shake hands with an individual you’ve been introduced to or when saying hello. The best hand shake is, “Open your hand, keeping all your fingers together and the thumb open. Grasp the palm firmly, but not crushingly, and give a couple of small shakes. Don’t let your hand go all limp.”
Your voice- The voice is your first tool for communicating information with others. How you say is just as important as what you say.
Smile- The fastest and easiest way to meet people and make friends is to smile! Smiles are very contagious and a great way to start a conversation or a friendship
Personal space- In some countries, it may be acceptable to stand very close to another person, but in USA, people might feel uncomfortable and threatened. Americans usually maintain a space of 2-3 feet around them as their personal space. Unless you are on a crowded bus, try to maintain that distance to make others comfortable with your company.
The best method to learn nonverbal skills is to watch how other people interact. Go to the mall, the park, a bookstore or a restaurant and observe how others communicate in verbal and nonverbal ways. You will quickly learn what nonverbal actions Americans see as confident and friendly, and practice them yourself.
Remember, “Silent talks more!”