Everyday English for Construction and Engineering 2
Everyday English for Construction and Engineering 2

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Everyday English for Construction and Engineering 2

2 Non-verbal communication

Described image
Figure 2 Communicating through body language

In a Functional Skills English Level 2 discussion, you gain marks for using appropriate non-verbal communication.

Non-verbal communication is all about the subtle cues between people that give an idea of how they are feeling. Non-verbal communication can include body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and hand gestures.

When you speak, much of the message that you convey comes through your tone of voice and body language rather than the words you use. This means that whether you are trying to persuade your friends to watch the movie you like, presenting information at a staff meeting or answering questions at a job interview, it is important that you always use positive body language.

Activity 6 Non-verbal body language

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch the short video below. Make a note of all the non-verbal signals that are demonstrated.

Download this video clip.Video player: bltl_vid_05_eng_5_non-verbal.mp4
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Transcript

SPEAKER
When you speak, much of the message that you convey comes through your tone of voice and body language, rather than the words you use. This means that whether you are presenting information at a meeting, answering questions at a job interview, or joining in with a discussion-- you should try to be aware of your own body language, and keep it positive.
For example, leaning in slightly when someone is speaking demonstrates that you are actively listening. While leaning away signals that you are not really that interested in what they are saying or that you even feel hostile.
Crossing your arms can mean that you don't agree with what is being said, that you're not feeling confident, or that you're simply not interested. If your arms are open and your hands are together in your lap or on the table, it shows others that you are open to what they are saying.
Talking with your hands is an easy way to incorporate gestures into your conversation. Emphasising words with your hands can lead you to appear more credible and assured. Just be careful not to make it a dance party.
Making eye contact is another way of communicating positively. Keeping your head up and look the person you are talking to in the eyes, both when they are talking to you and when you are talking to them. There is no need to stare them down so remember to blink and to look away occasionally. Good eye contact lets others know that you are interested in the conversation.
You can show empathy with simple actions of agreement like nodding your head or smiling. These actions let people know that you are on their side. And that you identify with their plight. You can also laugh, when it's appropriate.
End transcript
 
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Discussion

The video features both positive and negative non-verbal signals.

  • Leaning in shows that you are actively listening.

  • Leaning back can suggest that you are not interested in the discussion or even feel hostile about it.

  • Folding your arms gives a signal that you are not interested in what’s going on.

  • Relaxing your arms, so that they hang comfortably at your sides, or resting your hands in your lap, shows that you are open to what others are saying.

  • Talking with your hands and emphasising words with gestures can make you appear more credible and assured.

  • Making eye contact lets others know you are interested in the conversation.

  • Nodding and smiling are ways of showing empathy and letting others know you understand what they are saying. Laughing is another way of doing this – when appropriate.

Activity 7 Positive body language

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Decide whether each of the pictures below shows generally positive or negative body language or elements of both.

Described image
Figure 3 Talking

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is a.

Discussion

The people in this picture are making eye contact and smiling and look engaged in the conversation. They do not show any negative body language like folding their arms or looking away.

Described image
Figure 4 Leaning back

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is a.

Discussion

This man looks relaxed and quite happy! Or he could be having a short break from his work. He’s smiling, leaning back slightly and has his hands behind his head. In some circumstances – for example, if he was talking to a client or was in an interview – his body language would be a bit too informal and would not be appropriate.

Described image
Figure 5 Discussing

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is a.

Discussion

All the people in this picture look engaged in the discussion. They are leaning in slightly and are focused on whatever is on the computer. Some of them are smiling and making eye contact with the woman who is speaking. The body language is open and positive.

Described image
Figure 6 Listening

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is c.

Discussion

The man on the left is speaking with his arm outstretched slightly and his palm up. The woman has her arms folded; her expression and body language suggest she doesn’t completely agree with what he is saying. All three of them are making eye contact. There is a mix of positive and negative body language.

Described image
Figure 7 Explaining

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is a.

Discussion

The man talking in this picture is using his arm to indicate what he is talking about and perhaps emphasise his point. He is smiling slightly and making eye contact with the two people listening, who look engaged and have their arms either by their sides or behind their back. The body language is positive.

Described image
Figure 8 Shaking hands

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is a.

Discussion

These two women are shaking hands – perhaps in greeting or after coming to an agreement – and look happy to be doing so! They both smile and look at each other as they shake hands. Both show positive body language.

Described image
Figure 9 Head in hands

a. 

Positive


b. 

Negative


c. 

Both


The correct answer is b.

Discussion

The man on the stairs looks upset or frustrated. You can’t see his expression, but he’s sitting cross-legged, looking down at the floor and has his head in his hands. His body language indicates negative feelings.

FSE_SSC_2

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