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Non-Verbal Communality

Research shows that the fastest and easiest way to communicate warmth and communality is to smile. Smiling enhances a person’s likability and can make them more influential in professional settings. Particularly for women, smiling can ‘soften’ one’s image without compromising a reputation for competence.
Eye contact is a great way to connect with people and draw them in when you’re speaking. It’s also a great way to show colleagues that you’re actively listening when they speak.
The way you position your body when you speak to somebody is important. Research shows that ‘dominant’ body positioning (like squaring one’s shoulders to a conversational partner, pointing, or gesturing emphatically) can be perceived as threatening and will diminish one’s influence over others. Particularly for women, who are expected to be less aggressive than men, dominant body positioning can have a negative effect on how one is perceived.
When you’re listening to colleagues in the workplace, you’re not just receiving information – you’re also sending information. Gentle, occasional nods of the head say “I agree with what you’re saying and I’m encouraging you to continue”. According to communication researcher Linda Carli, nodding during conversation is an excellent way to communicate warmth. Nodding is part of a larger process called ‘active listening’. In this video, communication specialist Tracy Goodwin talks about how ‘responses’ such as nodding are an important part of being an effective listener.
Small touch gestures among colleagues (such as a quick pat on the back or a hand on the shoulder) can communicate warmth and friendliness. If done quickly and professionally, it says “I acknowledge you and appreciate our working relationship”. Watch this video for more information about how to incorporate touch effectively into your communication with colleagues.

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