Good communication forms the basis of any successful relationship both in the personal as well as professional domains. But it would be wrong to say that this communication is only done using words. In fact humans have a very strong non verbal communication pattern, and many experts believe that we majorly use our body as means to convey some message or to communicate. Such communications include body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, posture and even voice modulation. Soft skill training usually emphasize on the ability to understand and utilize this aspect of human behavior to convey messages and express thoughts. Not only this, but it also helps in navigating difficult situations and develop healthier relationships.
More often than not the body language of a person and other non verbal messages help understand the persona and differentiate between what is true and what is not because such communication seldom lies. So if any time one happens to witness a person whose body language does not endorse what he verbally says then the other person is forced to choose between believing one of the two communications and usually people end up believing the non verbal one. This is a universal truth. Soft skill trainings try to drill home this point and encourage the trainees to be more receptive towards such interaction and understand it.
Apart from body language, facial expressions, posture and gestures form an integral part of these non verbal interactions. A careful understanding of these is also required because such behaviors change from culture to culture as well. Often what is considered to be a welcome gesture in one culture is taken as an offence in the other. For e.g. standing or talking at close distances is a practice very fondly followed in some countries like that of Latin America, whereas in countries of the north America or Europe people will not be comfortable with this at all, they prefer to keep a distance. So it is always advisable to have some knowledge of non verbal behavior in other cultures as well especially for those who are in constant interaction with people of those cultures.
Usually body movements or posture gives an idea about the state of the mind of the person whether he or she is relaxed or tensed or impatient or irritated or thoughtful etc. Similarly the eyes convey a lot of messages regarding attraction or affection or animosity, hostility or love or hatred etc. The touch can also be a great indicator of the other person’s feelings. For e.g. consider a hand shake, a firm handshake shows interest whereas a slack one signifies laziness or that the person is disinterested.
A warm hug or patronizing pats on the head all have their own significance in their realm of Communication. The voice is also a great non verbal indicator although it is related to words but in a totally different way. Part from listening to what we speak people also read our voices, i.e. they reassure the meaning of the words with the tone. A voice can be sarcastic, angry, affectionate or confident. All these are various ways in which a person communicates.
So understanding the non-verbal communication pattern helps in making a person a better communicator and a better manager all at the same time. When we say better manager, we mean a manager of people, time, resources and everything else that matters. It is also interesting to study and learn, quite unlike anything boring.