According to A. Barbour, author of Louder Than Words: Nonverbal Communication, the total impact of a message breaks down like this:
7 percent verbal (words)
38 percent vocal (volume, pitch, rhythm, etc)
55 percent body movements (mostly facial expressions)
This breakdown indicates that effective nonverbal communication skills are essential. There is nothing worse than delivering a speech about how well your organization is doing while at the same time, shrugging, frowning and turning away from the audience. You would be sending mixed messages and based on the above scale no one in the audience will believe that the company is actually performing well.
Effective communication is the combined harmony of verbal and nonverbal actions. Nonverbal communication consists of body movement, facial expressions and eye movement.
Body Movement indicates attitude, conveys feelings serves as illustrators and regulators. Illustrators are nonverbal movements that accompany and illustrate verbal communication.
You say to the store attendant "I want that one," and point to the dress in the display window. You nod your head up and down to indicate yes and shake it back and forth to indicate no. In other words you imitate the movement you are verbally describing.
Regulators are nonverbal cues that monitor or control the speaking of another individual.
While listening to a person you nod you head to indicate that you understand and is in agreement with the speaker. You look away or yawn to indicate that you are bored or would like for the speaker to stop talking. You frown or raise your eyebrows to indicate to the speaker that you either don't believe them are that you don't understand.
Your posture also plays a role in your communication efforts. A slumped posture indicates that you have low spirits, are fatigued or that you feel inferior. Whereas, an erect posture shows high spirits and confidence. If you lean forward it implies that you are open and interested. Leaning away shows disinterest or that you are defensive. Maintaining a rigid posture is interpreted by many to mean that you are defensive, while a relaxed posture translates to openness. Crossed arms and legs indicated a defensive, proactive position, while uncrossed arms and legs indicates a willingness to listen.
Direct eye contact is essential in our society to demonstrate a self-assured, honest personality. Most people find it difficult to look at someone in the eyes when they are talking to them. Direct eye contact can be anxiety-provoking and on occasion can cause some individuals to lose their train of thought. The solution is to focus your eyes somewhere else on the face. For example, you can keep your eyes glued to the person's nose, mouth, or ear. As long as your focus is within eight inches of the nose, the other person will not be able to tell that you are not looking him or her directly in the eyes.