Nonverbal Cues to Help You in Meetings

Hearing in meetings becoming harder? This article is all about nonverbal cues to help you in meetings.

If you are in the workplace, hearing in meetings is so important. The workplace is one of the hardest places to negotiate hearing loss. After all, a lot rides on communication on the job, from staying in the loop and learning a new task to closing deals or connecting with your coworkers. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you back. Using hearing aids can help you stay on top of your job.

Learning to pick up nonverbal communication cues can also provide a critical context for conversations. If you’ve struggled with hearing loss, you have probably already picked up on some of these nonverbal signals that help you understand what is being said. To help improve your nonverbal skills, here are a few common, unspoken signals it might pay to recognize.

Understanding Signals

Whether you notice it or not, part of communication is a back and forth of signals between the people involved in the conversation. Whether this is a head nod, small affirmative sounds like mm-hmms or a question for more information, the progress of a discussion depends on all parties feeling understood.

In language studies, these important, subtle indicators are called backchannels and go a long way in determining the meaning and tone of verbal communication. Picking up on backchannel cues can make business conversations more fluid. If you rely on verbal cues, try using more physical signals in your own communication. A small head nod to show you understand someone not only contributes to clear communication, but it also models clear nonverbal behavior and often others will begin using similar cues.

Ready To Speak Signals

Whether you are in a casual conversation or a high-pressure meeting, it’s important to recognize when people have something to say. Everyone getting a chance to speak makes for a more rich conversation. People who want to speak will lean forward or will show restlessness – signs like shifting in their seats or anxious behavior. With their eyes, they may scan the room quickly as they wait for the right time to contribute.

Depending on the setting, people may give you a small hand signal that they have something to say. Watching out for these signals can let you know where to shift your listening. If you are running a meeting, or are in charge of when people get to speak and ask questions, be sure to observe the others in the room carefully and make sure everyone gets the opportunity to contribute.

Asking A Question Signals

Have you ever misinterpreted the meaning of a text message that lacked punctuation? Punctuation determines the meaning of what is written. Similarly, physical cues shape the meaning of what is being said. Often in face-to-face communication, we depend on reading subtle facial expressions to determine how someone intends to have what they say interpreted.

When someone is asking a question, their face will usually show it. Look for raised eyebrows, direct eye contact and perhaps a small tilt of their head to the side. Catching these cues can let you know that a person expects a response.

Practice Reading Expressions

An easy way to practice reading physical nonverbal signals is to study your own. Sit in front of a mirror and try acting out a conversation. Notice what your body does when you are expressing something you are happy, sad or anxious about. See what your face and posture look like when you embody different moods and scenarios. Pretend that you are impatient and see how your body movements look in comparison to when you are expressing contentment.

You can also improve your observation skills by watching people on television and in movies. Drama series that try to realistically portray a range of emotion will give you the opportunity to study how the actors convey the emotions they express in body language and gestures. See if you can turn down the volume on a program and still follow the plot through observing physical movements.

Stop Missing Conversation and Start Hearing In Meetings

Treating hearing issues helps you stay ahead of the curve. Using hearing aids and assistive devices lets you stay in the loop at work, at home or wherever you go.

You always want to get the most from your hearing. That’s why we are here to help. At Hearing Group, we’ll help you connect with hearing solutions that work. If this sounds like you and you’re ready to start hearing in meetings contact us today!

Jesse Hidalgo, BC-HIS

Jesse is Board Certified in Hearing Instruments and has built over 25 practices during his business career starting in 1998. Using his training in Hearing Instrument Sciences he has helped thousands of patients across those practices hear better.
Published: December 14, 2018
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