Wehmeyer, Agran, & Hughes (1999) provide a short summary of basic nonverbal communication skills. Consider how eye-contact, facial expressions, gestures and body movements all influence communication. Each will be summarized below.
Eye-contact (Banbury & Hebert, 1992) can reflect many things. Eye-contact that is:
Facial expressions communicate emotions and might include:
Body gestures or movements can be used to augment verbal communications. Gestures that are frequently seen and familiar include:
While there are many more subtle and not so subtle gestures and expressions, these expressions are all familiar. Look at whether body language and words are consistent in meaning. Conflicts between words and body language could lead to confusion. Body language can also be used to emphasize verbal language.
Listening skills are another important component of effective communication skills. Consumers may need assistance in identifying auditory communication and then understanding the meaning. Weymeyer, Agran, and Hughes (1999) provide a strategy that can be employed to enhance listening skills. This includes:
Since every situation is different and there are so many ways to communicate, it is important that people get the chance to practice effective communication skills. Some ways to practice are:
Effective communication will enhance every aspect of a consumer’s career development including job attainment (e.g., advocating for a specific job during the interview process), job maintenance (e.g., requesting an increase in pay based upon a job well done), and job promotion (e.g., demonstrating and stating relevant skills).
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