The Importance of Body Language

05.23.2011 | Holly Zuluaga

Effective communicators know the importance of utilizing non-verbal communication when delivering a message. It is a critical vehicle for capturing attention and communicating. Non-verbal communication includes eye contact, posture, gestures, voice and tone quality and helps ensure that your audience receives your message effectively.

Mastering non-verbal communication is essential not only in media interviews, crisis communication and management, but in everyday communication.

At Communiqué PR we prepare our clients for media interviews through media training, stressing the importance of body language, because what you don’t say is just as important as what you do say.

Consider the following:

  • Sit up straight. Good posture conveys confidence, power and engagement. It will help someone understand that you are serious and know what you are talking about. Sloughing appears sloppy and can be construed as disrespectful.
  • Look them in the eye. Eye contact is a critical piece of communication. This helps establish credibility and honesty and helps to deliver your message authentically. For example, if you need a minute to think about an answer to a question, briefly looking away gives the impression that you are collecting your thoughts and thinking.
  • Gesture sparingly. Many people rely heavily on hand gestures to communicate. While this can be helpful to illustrate a point, it can also be distracting. We encourage you to gesture, when necessary, but don’t overdo it. This is especially important when doing an on-camera interview. You want the focus to be on your words. If the gesture helps make your point, it is ok, but you don’t want to detract from your message. A good example of this can be found in an interview with President Obama on ABC.
  • Use your voice as a tool. Your words are important, but so is how you speak. Your tone should align with the message you’re a delivering. For example, when answering a question, raising your pitch at the end of a sentence can be confusing and communicate that you are unsure.

Mastering body language as an effective communication tool can be a challenge, but to get started it is helpful to pay attention to the non-verbal cues that you pick up on from your next conversation.

Do you have an example to share about how non-verbal communication has helped you deliver a strong message or caused confusion? We would love to hear about it. Please feel free to comment below.


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Filed under: Crisis Communications, Media, Planning, Strategy, Technology

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