5 nonverbal communication cues all great speakers have mastered

While there is no question that what you say matters, studies suggest the words you use make up just 7% of the impact you have.

The remaining 93% is split between your body language and tone.

That’s why it’s imperative to master the nonverbal cues you send. And since a presenter has only about 60 seconds to hook the audience, it’s important to get them right from the start.

We spoke with Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said!,” about mastering the art of nonverbal communication.
Scroll down to see her tips.

Control your facial expressions.

Oftentimes, we have no idea what our faces are communicating. 'Because our facial expressions are closely tied to emotion, they are often involuntary and unconscious,' Price says.

Letting our emotions get the best of us can negatively affect the impression we give, whether it's a presentation or a one-on-one conversation. To avoid a misunderstanding, hold a slight smile, nod occasionally, and make sure you show interest, she advises.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

'Make sure 'business casual' is not 'business careless,'' Price says.

Professional attire, such as suits or jackets, should be worn to important meetings and presentations, especially with senior leaders and customers, she says. It's also important to avoid showy accessories, busy patterns, and tight or revealing garments.

Concentrate on the tone of your voice.

Price cites the common phrase: 'It's not what you said; it's how you said it.' If someone has ever said this to you, they are referring to your paralanguage, or tone, she says.

'Separate from the actual words used, these nonverbal elements of your voice include voice tone, pacing, pausing, volume, inflection, pitch, and articulation,' Price says. Recording a few of your conversations can be a good way to identify the emotions your tone communicates, she says.

Maintain strong eye contact for more than a brief second.

The importance of maintaining eye contact can't be overstated.

Simply glancing at members of the audience is known as the 'eye-dart,' Price says, and it 'conveys insecurity, anxiety, or evasion.' The key is to maintain direct eye contact for at least two seconds before moving to the next person, she says.

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