Conflicts can arise due to misunderstandings in communication. People communicate verbally and nonverbally through tone of voice, gestures, and body language, among others. It's imperative to understand the importance of non-verbal communication and how it can help in conflict management.
Understanding non-verbal communication
Our voice, face, and body have languages of their own. For instance, a sudden rise in your voice tone indicates anger or frustration; maintaining eye contact with someone shows interest in the conversation; having proximity with someone shows closeness or comfortability.
The subtle shifts in your body language, especially when you're unconscious of the changes, may convey mixed signals, or worse, a wrong message. Hence, being mindful of your non-verbal communication is equally important as being conscious of your spoken words.
How to employ positive body language when communicating:
Don't cross your arms and use hand gestures positively. Cross arms usually signify disinterest or superiority. If you want to resolve a conflict, it's best not to aggravate an already stressful situation by crossing your arms. If you're communicating with a colleague or a friend, put your hands on your sides while genuinely listening to them or using open hand gestures when conveying a message to show more enthusiasm.
Maintain eye-contact and make subtle nods. Looking someone in the eyes shows interest and signals respect while nodding your head from time to time indicates that you understand what the other is saying regardless of whether you agree. Eye-contact is a sufficient dispute resolution tool as it calms the other person and allows them to have a more open mind regarding your point of view.
Be mindful of your vocal tone.
Most of the time, it's not what you say but how you say it. Even with just a few words, when done genuinely and enthusiastically, the spoken words could mean so much more. Maintain a brighter and softer vocal tone when resolving a conflict. And never raise your voice.
When it comes to conflicts, it is human nature to want to win an argument. But that shouldn't be the case. The goal should be to enter into a solution that would benefit both parties involved. Learning how to employ positive body language can significantly help in resolving disputes. So, when faced with tense situations, use these non-verbal communication signals to shine through.