Non-Verbal Communications

LaWanda Woods, On-Ramp Coordinator
On-Ramp Program 2011
Students will understand the use of nonverbal
communication as a powerful tool to help
them connect with others, express what they
really mean, navigate challenging situations,
and build better relationships.
On-Ramp Program 2011
On-Ramp Program 2011
The human face is extremely
expressive, able to express
countless emotions without
saying a word. And unlike some
forms of nonverbal
communication, facial
expressions are universal. The
facial expressions for happiness,
sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and
disgust are the same across
On-Ramp Program 2011
Consider how your perceptions
of people are affected by the way
they sit, walk, stand up, or hold
their head. The way you move
and carry yourself communicates
a wealth of information to the
world. This type of nonverbal
communication includes your
posture, bearing, stance, and
subtle movements.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We
wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing
or speaking animatedly—expressing ourselves with gestures
often without thinking. However, the meaning of gestures
can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s
important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Since the visual sense is dominant for
most people, eye contact is an especially
important type of nonverbal
communication. The way you look at
someone can communicate many things,
including interest, affection, hostility, or
attraction. Eye contact is also important
in maintaining the flow of conversation
and for gauging the other person’s
On-Ramp Program 2011
We communicate a great deal
through touch. Think about the
messages given by the following:
a firm handshake, a timid tap on
the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a
reassuring pat on the back, a
patronizing pat on the head, or a
controlling grip on your arm.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Have you ever felt uncomfortable
during a conversation because
the other person was standing
too close and invading your
space? We all have a need for
physical space, although that
need differs depending on the
culture, the situation, and the
closeness of the relationship. You
can use physical space to
communicate many different
nonverbal messages, including
signals of intimacy, aggression,
dominance, or affection.
On-Ramp Program 2011
We communicate with our voices, even
when we are not using words.
Nonverbal speech sounds such as tone,
pitch, volume, inflection, rhythm, and
rate are important communication
elements. When we speak, other people
“read” our voices in addition to listening
to our words. These nonverbal speech
sounds provide subtle but powerful
clues into our true feelings and what we
really mean. Think about how tone of
voice, for example, can indicate
sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.
On-Ramp Program 2011
On-Ramp Program 2011
Taken From The
Sell Yourself!
Sell Yourself!
Verbal Content
Voice Tone
Body Language
On-Ramp Program 2011
Give them a smile and a firm handshake,
not a wet fish.
Squeeze the person’s hand for 2 or 3 seconds while looking
into the eyes. Females need to do the same – they often do
not give a firm handshake and should.
Keeping your palm facing upward suggests honesty and
sincerity along with keeping your hands where they can be
seen. Shoving them into pockets indicates a hidden agenda.
On-Ramp Program 2011
You might want to consider STEEPLING –pressing
fingertips of one hand against the other which conveys
The first 10-15 seconds of your initial contact with a
new person is critical in how you will be seen and sets
the tone of the interview.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Dress is a part of non-verbal communication and says a lot about you.
If you are unsure of proper attire you can always wear a sport coat, tie and
slacks. You can always remove a tie if you seem overdressed.
Certainly the type of job you are applying for will indicate dress style.
When choosing colors to wear:
Red denotes energy, strength and power.
Men: Red ties are often considered power symbols.
Blue conveys an impression that you are trustworthy.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Do not sit until you are invited to do so.
If invited to choose a chair you should
choose one that leaves you open to the
interviewer (if one there is just one).
A desk is a barrier and you do not want that
unless you are offered a seat with the Big
Kahuna sitting behind a desk.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Other related thoughts:
Do not place your materials on his/her desk, but on
the floor.
Coats, hats etc. should also be placed on your chair or
on the floor.
There may be a general use table in the room and
materials could be placed there under those conditions.
Keep your notebook on your lap ready where you can
take notes.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Sit straight and comfortable – an open
posture – with both feet on the floor. Persons
who sit straight or stand tall seem to interact
better with others and give a better impression.
Do not slouch as it can indicate low selfesteem, boredom and even disrespect.
Don’t sit with arms folded as it can denote
On-Ramp Program 2011
Crossing your legs is okay, but be sure that if
the interviewer (if one person) is sitting to the
right or left of you that you cross your legs with
the crossed leg pointing toward him/her. (A leg
crossed away can denote distancing yourself from the
interviewer. In group interviews it is not a real issue,
however, you may want to sit straight without legs
crossed). This puts you in a neutral position.
Try not to fidget or appear nervous.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Listening is an art and part of non-verbal communication.
A nod of the head can denote affirmation or agreement with a
statement, as well as a smile or a gesture, such as thumbs up.
Be a good listener, give the speaker your attention and never
We are always thinking of what we are going to say next and
sometimes we even miss what is really being said. WORK AT
On-Ramp Program 2011
Silences are a part of non-verbal communication and we can handle them in a
variety of ways.
Certainly you will direct your attention to the speaker and remain silent while
that person is speaking. You may want to give an indication that you
understand by a gesture, head nod, smile etc.
Do not be afraid of silences after you have answered a question as the
interviewer may be digesting what has been said and/or thinking about a
response. (Do not read too much into silences as that can be counter
Silences are a part of the interview process and you need to learn how to
handle them. Take your time when pondering an answer to a question AND be
sure that you understand it.
On-Ramp Program 2011
Often you will be offered a cup of
coffee, soft drink or a glass of water. It is
wise to let them be hospitable as it does
make them feel good and it is customary.
If it is a lunch interview you should
follow their lead in terms of ordering
and do not choose the most expensive or
cheapest item on the menu. You can be
seen as too cheap or to greedy – go for
the in between.
On-Ramp Program 2011
On-Ramp Program 2011
 Find out where the power
 It is a known fact that
(decision maker) is during
a group interview.
 Don’t talk too much and
use a confident voice tone.
 If you need to think about
a question asked – look
away while thinking and
then make eye contact
when you are ready to
when persons are
fabricating an answer
that they seem to look up
and to the left. A savvy
HR person or interviewer
may look for this clue.
 It is smart to have a
notebook with you with a
list of questions you want
to ask and an invisible
On-Ramp Program 2011
Have examples of projects you have
worked on or other documents that you
may need, to show evidence of your work
if it is applicable to the job you are
applying for.
Bring evidence of any awards or
achievements that you want to
bring to their attention.
On-Ramp Program 2011
The interview is over. A non-verbal sign.
You should have any last comments you want to make in mind.
For example, you might state:
If I have further questions may I
call or e-mail you AND/OR what
is the next step OR when will you
make a decision?
On-Ramp Program 2011
On-Ramp Program 2011
Our Contact Information
LaWanda F. Woods
On-Ramp Program Coordinator
(804) 768-6612
[email protected]
Judy L. Taylor
Professional Counselor
(804) 706-5225
[email protected]
Meredith Axisa
Professional Counselor
(804) 594-1561
[email protected]
On-Ramp Program 2011

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