Speaking in front of an audience or holding a meeting with a manager can test the business communication skills of even the most experienced communicators. For Gen Zers entering the workforce, it’s essential to develop both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Gen Zers should also understand the connection between emotional intelligence and communication to further improve these skills.
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Rider University Online Master of Business Communication program.
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5 Strategies for Developing Nonverbal Business Communication Skills
Before a single word is said, nonverbal cues have already communicated part of the message. Those striving to become great communicators should first focus on developing their nonverbal communication skills.
Mind the Nonverbal Part of Communication
A key form of nonverbal communication involves maintaining appropriate eye contact. Research indicates the ideal length of eye contact during a conversation is 3.3 seconds. Another key nonverbal communication is maintaining an open body position, as communicated with uncrossed arms while nodding produces an unthreatening stance. Also, it’s important to avoid thinking about what you’re going to say next while the other person is speaking. This may not be as easy as it sounds, as research suggests the mind wanders 50% of the time. Fourthly, it’s vital to take deep breaths before initiating a difficult conversation, as research indicates that doing so improves focus and calms down nerves. Finally, it’s important to smile conversation even if the other person can’t see you, like during a phone conversation.
5 Signs of Poor Nonverbal Communication
Research shows that a weak handshake conveys a feeling of being more social anxious and less outgoing. Research also indicates that touching the face is also a sign of nervousness and stress. Additionally, fidgeting or shaking legs can convey signs of anxiety and/or irritation. Hiding hands or crossing arms is also a poor nonverbal, as it may indicate to others that you aren’t telling the complete story. Finally, poor hand gestures that don’t match the conversation’s energy level may make cause you to lose control of the discussion.
5 Strategies for Developing Verbal Business Communication Skills
What we say isn’t as important as how we say it. Gen Zers entering the workforce should focus on improving the delivery of their message in one-on-one-settings, as well as before a larger audience.
Let’s Talk About Verbal Communication
It’s important to have a professional, engaged, and understanding tone of voice. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify and demonstrate understanding. It’s equally vital to make time for focused one-on-one conversations, eschewing all electronic devices in the process. Additionally, if you’re making a presentation should start and end it with key points. Finally, it’s important to focus on earning respect from an audience instead of going for laughs.
5 Habits of Poor Public Speaking
Public speaking can be an effective form of communication when done right. This could happen by avoiding a few key errors. Firstly, it’s important to know your audience, and tailor your message toward their sensibilities. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep the use of data to a minimum. A lack of appropriate pauses is also a sign of poor public speaking, not to mention anxiety or a lack of preparedness. Darting eyes and a lack of sustained eye contact can also convey a feeling of insecurity. Finally, a lack of energy is a public speaking killer.
The Key to Effective Communication: Emotional Intelligence
Research has suggested a relationship between emotional intelligence and effective communication. For an individual with high emotional intelligence, many of the principles of effective business communication will become easier to in practice.
What is Emotional Intelligence
John D. Mayer, a psychology professor who coined the term “emotional intelligence (EI)” with Peter Solvey of Yale in 1990, defines EI as “The ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions, to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships, and to manage your own and others’ emotions. It doesn’t necessarily include the qualities (like optimism, initiative and self-confidence) that some popular definitions ascribe to it.”
The 5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence
Self-awareness, or the ability to understand one’s feelings, is a key component of EI. It’s also important to self-regulate their reactions. Additionally, showing motivation conveys that you’re not just in it for the check. Also, the ability show empathy and understand others’ emotions is fundamental. Finally, good social skills allow for proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.
The benefits of EI are numerous. They can allow you to gain a greater understanding of self and others, demonstrate greater control of impulses, improve your ability to cope with the outside world, and engage in higher cognitive functions like attention, memory, and reasoning.
It should also be noted that there is indeed a link between EI and communication. Those with high EI are better able to perceive, interpret, and manage emotions. As such, EI is helpful in understanding others and responding appropriately.
Professionals develop business communication skills and emotional intelligence by practicing communication, making mistakes and learning. Gen Zers will a desire to improve their business communication skills should focus on developing greater EI and deepening their understanding of themselves. EI’s positive impact on the effectiveness of communication will be well worth the effort.