Negative nonverbal communication examples

We're all fascinated by body language. Most of the time, that means interpreting what someone else is showing us.

What does that gesture mean? Is he or she responding positively to me? Am I seeing truthfulness or lying? Is any of this nonverbal behavior reliable information?

(To learn how to use such skills well yourself, read my essential cheat sheet, "5 Secrets of Powerful Body Language.")

Body Language Is a Key Skill of Nonverbal Communication

If each of us is that interested in what other people are showing us, turn that situation around: What about when we're the one giving a speech or presentation? You've got it—your audience wants to know the same things about you, including:

  • Are you trustworthy?
  • Is what you're saying credible?
  • Do you have the audience's interests at heart rather than your own?
  • Are you a confident speaker?
  • Can they believe in your message?

The list is actually much longer concerning how you're coming across and whether your message is resonating.

Clearly, you need to use body language powerfully to be credible and persuasive in the eyes of your audience. You can learn more about how to make it work for you in my e-book

Is Your Negative Body Language One of the 7 Deadly Sins of Nonverbal Communication?

Below are the 7 deadly ways speakers use "negative body language" to undermine their own credibility and influence. If you see your own behavior reflected here, it's time to take stock and start employing body language that helps rather than hurts your cause.

#1. Poor stance or posture. Audiences cue in on your sense of self-worth by how you hold yourself. Slumped shoulders and a caved chest indicate surrender, not a willingness to take on the world in a worthy endeavor. As I tell clients at The Genard Method of Performance-Based Public Speaking Training, "How you stand affects your standing with the audience." Here's a easy yet effective exercise: Imagine a string leading from the top of your head into infinity. Someone is tugging gently and steadily on that string. Allow yourself to respond . . . and notice in a mirror how much more capable and confident you look!

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