Guest AuthorKhyati Gupta Babbar

Use Non-Verbal Communication to Give and Receive Respect

By | Khyati Gupta Babbar | Santulan Behavioural Sciences

It is said that how you make the other person feel is way more important that what you say to that person. When we show respect to someone it also improves our chances of getting it back and moreover we are able to get more work done from that relationship. Well, that makes for a business case for giving and receiving respect specially in the workplace. Here are a few non-verbal tips which will help us:

  1. How can you give them your BEST attention? Do you want to show to your listener that you are totally tuned in and listening to them with all your attention? Align your top, torso and toes towards them. This is called Fronting. When you front someone you show nonverbal respect and let them know that all your attention is theirs.
    Try it today with a client, a supervisor or even with your spouse and notice how your engagement shoots up.
  2. How can you use your eyes to give and receive respect? When you speak with someone maintain eye contact for 60-70% of the times. If it is anything less than that the other person might think you are not interested and if it is any more than that you may come across as creepy.
  3. How can you listen better with your body language? Listening (and showing that you are listening) is a mark of RESPECT. How can you use your torso to show that you are listening to the other person? Move your torso forward slightly to show that you are listening. For an added effect you can tilt your head a little bit to the side to show your ear to the other person which nonverbally indicates that you are listening.
  4. How can you use touch appropriately? A respectful touch can help build business relationships! Touching appropriately is an immensely powerful tool for building a trust based relationship. Understand the touch map to use it correctly. Handshakes are the most common form of touching in business scenarios. The higher up the arm you go, the more intimate the touch. And of course, the torso and face are no touch zones! Once you have built a rapport with a person, just a slight pat on the arm helps in releasing the bonding hormone called Oxytocin and thereby increasing your bond with that person.
  5. Is it not disrespectful to be looking into your mobile phone while talking to someone? I am sure we all have come across this situation in our work life.
    If the person that you are speaking with is looking into the phone, stop speaking and politely say “I will wait for you to finish.” This is a respectful and effective way to send out your message. But what if, you are the listener and you really need to look into your phone? The solution is simple. Verbalize it. You can say “I need to check an important mail. Can you give me a minute?”  or “I need to take notes of our meeting on my phone sticky notes. I hope you don’t mind if I look into my phone in between.” And finally, how can you make the other person put their phone on silent? When you start your meeting say out loud “Let me put my phone on silent so that we can focus on the conversation fully”. This will encourage the other person to do the same. Do take out your phone, and put it face down on the table so that non-verbally you tell the other person that all your attention is theirs.
  6. Use mirroring to show respect. Has it ever happened to you that you went to a colleague with an exciting news and he/she reacted with low enthusiasm that put you off? Indeed, it is very common. Use authentic mirroring to show respect to the person who is speaking with you. For example, if someone shares a good news with you give a genuine smile and try and bring your body language in sync with their energy.
  7. Respect social distance norms to respect people. We all have social distance boundaries around us which we only let appropriate people enter into. 0-18 inches is our intimate zone where only our loved ones can come in. 1.5 to 5 feet is our personal zone where we invite our close friends and family and 5 to 7 feet is our social zone which we usually keep for colleagues and business associates. Unless you are very close to a person at work avoid breaching their social zone.
  8. How can you interject respectfully in a meeting? If you want to make a point and at the same time not get rude; before you start speaking show non-verbally that you want to speak. This will give a cue to the current speaker to pass on the ‘baton’ to you. You can raise your hand just a little bit – not the full-fledged school version :). And within seconds, you will notice that the speaker starts winding up and lets you speak.

Republished with permission and originally published at Khyati Gupta Babbar’s Linkedin

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