Non-Verbal Communication in the Workplace

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As the common saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In the workplace, your body language, appearance, workspace and actions also speak thousands of words. Non-verbal communication can take so many forms, all of which are impactful on your professional success. Awareness of the many forms of non-verbal communication and how you can use them to your advantage are key in making your mark professionally – without saying a single word.

Body language

Effective gestures during a presentation or even a simple conversation can complement words by emphasizing key points and demonstrating engagement with a subject. Body language unaccompanied by words is just as important: eye contact with a speaker shows that you are listening and interested; posture can convey assurance and strength; a good handshake can leave a lasting impression. Check out our post last week on the “power pose”: the stance that can make you look and feel confident!

Physical appearance

In business, how you look inevitably affects how others interact with you and how they perceive your professional abilities. For women, this includes not only dress, but also makeup use. According to a Proctor & Gable study conducted last year, wearing makeup (but not too much!) can increase a woman’s perceived competence, likeability and trustworthiness.

Attire matters for both men and women in the workplace. Details aside, a robust professional wardrobe is essential to successful individuals – one that can be appropriated to various contexts and levels of formality.


Your workspace can speak on your behalf – make sure it says only good things about you! Regardless of your actual performance, a messy desk can make others think that you are disorganized and scattered. A tidy space will reflect that you are in control; not to mention, it will increase your efficiency and will contribute to a positive overall office atmosphere.


Even if you give a stellar presentation at a meeting, if you arrived late, your words will not carry the same weight and value. Tardiness, especially to important functions, will start others’ perceptions of you off on the wrong foot. In addition, being late can make you feel rushed and chaotic, which in turn will affect how you appear physically.

Work ethic and performance

Perhaps the most valuable way to speak without words is to let your success speak for you! If a boss or client observes your serious work ethic and your ability to achieve results, the effects will be lasting and valuable: much more so than arguing talent without proving the fact.

Body language training and choosing your wardrobe wisely are skills that can easily be learned, practiced and implemented, and can help you get ahead. Learn more about our body language lunch and learn session and the other interactive and engaging workshops today.


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