How nonverbal communication affects work

Did you know your body language at work can greatly impact your success? In meetings and everyday interactions, how you move and act sends strong messages, often louder than words. Your facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures make up 93% of communication, influencing how others perceive you. 


Understanding and improving your body language can enhance teamwork and trust, leading to greater success at work.  Stick around as we look at how it all works and share tips to help you succeed.

Types of Effective Nonverbal Communication at Work

Here are the nonverbal cues that promote confidence at work, according to Forbes.

Good Eye Contact

Establishing direct eye contact for at least two to three seconds shows involvement and warmth, while avoiding eye darting conveys insecurity.

Confident Handshake

A firm handshake with full palm-to-palm contact, accompanied by a sincere smile and eye contact, portrays confidence without being too aggressive.

Effective Gestures

Natural, purposeful gestures punctuate your words and convey enthusiasm, avoiding distracting mannerisms like fidgeting or finger-pointing.

Authoritative Posture

Standing or sitting tall with balanced weight and open body language exudes self-assurance and leadership presence.

Appropriate Facial Expressions

Matching your facial expressions to your message, such as showing enthusiasm with an animated face, enhances your credibility and engagement.

Impact of Nonverbal Communication on Work

Effective nonverbal communication can have numerous positive effects on work environments:

Building rapport and trust

Nonverbal cues such as eye contact and mirroring can establish rapport and foster trust between colleagues and clients.

Enhancing communication effectiveness

Nonverbal communication complements verbal messages, adding depth and clarity to communication and reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.

Influencing perceptions and impressions

First impressions are often based on nonverbal cues, shaping how others perceive your competence, credibility, and likability in the workplace.

Resolving conflicts

Nonverbal cues can facilitate conflict resolution by signaling openness, empathy, and willingness to collaborate.

Fostering teamwork and collaboration

Nonverbal communication promotes collaboration and teamwork by facilitating empathy, cooperation, and mutual understanding among team members.

Beware of Nonverbal Communication Mistakes

Despite its importance, nonverbal communication can sometimes backfire due to common mistakes:

    1. Inconsistency between verbal and nonverbal messages – Mixed signals can lead to confusion and undermine the effectiveness of communication.
    2. Misinterpretation of nonverbal cues – Cultural differences and individual variations in nonverbal behavior can result in misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
    3. Lack of awareness of cultural differences – Gestures and body language may have different meanings across cultures, leading to unintended offense or miscommunication.
    4. Over-reliance on digital communication – The prevalence of digital communication tools can diminish opportunities for face-to-face interaction, limiting the expression and interpretation of nonverbal cues.
    5. Failure to adapt communication style to different situations – Using the same nonverbal cues in diverse workplace scenarios may not be appropriate or effective, necessitating adaptability and flexibility in communication.

But there’s a way to improve! Utilize improv insights to your communication game.

Improving Nonverbal Communication at Work with Improv Insights

    • Improv, inspired by theater games, hones our nonverbal communication skills, enabling us to understand and utilize cues effectively.
    • Practicing improv fosters adaptability, allowing us to swiftly adjust to diverse workplace scenarios and navigate them with ease.
    • By becoming attuned to our body language through improv, we enhance our ability to interpret the nonverbal signals of others, facilitating smoother communication and reducing misunderstandings.
    • Incorporating improv principles like active listening, spontaneity, and emotional intelligence enhances our interactions with coworkers, fostering stronger connections and a more positive work environment.
    • Embracing the spirit of improv empowers us to take risks in our communication, ultimately contributing to a more collaborative and inclusive workplace culture.

Let’s embrace these improv insights to elevate our communication skills and enhance workplace dynamics together!

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