This is an era in which communication has become more important than ever in our daily life. There is so much scope for misunderstanding, both in our personal and business lives that the manner in which we communicate assumes increasing significance, especially in a country like the UAE where you would be interacting on a daily basis with people coming from diverse backgrounds, cultures and nations.
Experts say that 93 per cent of our communication is non verbal. This highlights the importance of non verbal communication in our daily lives. While the tone of voice accounts for 38 per cent of what is conveyed, body language accounts for 55 per cent. In a milieu where there are a number of people speaking different languages, a firm handshake and a friendly smile can make a whole lot of difference. Body language plays a huge part in the initial impression that people form about you. As they say, the first impression is the best impression. Even the manner in which you sit at your desk makes a difference. When you speak to others, make it a point look them in the eye. Not keeping eye contact can make others think that you are nervous or being shifty. At the same time, remember the adage that it is rude to stare. The concept of giving others space is also important. Everyone has a personal space that they are comfortable with. This might be a bit smaller for extroverts who are comfortable in the company of others. It might be smaller in the case of introverts who prefer to keep others at a distance. It is very important to respect the personal space of others while interacting with them.
We also need to be sensitive when it comes to cultural nuances. What a nod means in one culture may be conveyed through a shake of the head in another language. In many Asian cultures, it might be considered rude to look directly at women or to shake hands with women. In Middle Eastern culture, it is considered rude to display the sole of the shoe while crossing an ankle over a knee. Italians are very verbal and voluble and while this might seem odd in more reserved cultures, it is a part of their daily lives. Bodily contact is considered impolite in Japan.
Before visiting any unfamiliar culture or meeting anyone from a foreign country, it would be a wise idea to read up on what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to body language. This small effort can pay big dividends when it comes to interpersonal relationships.
In conclusion, using our hands, eyes, face and posture, we can convey a lot more than through our words. It is essential for us to be conscious about our body language to create a good impression on others. Open hand gestures, smiling and a good posture can make a significant difference in our lives without costing too much effort.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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