Silently Making Your Point

Much of the emphasis you add to your message, and the attention you gain in front of a group, comes from movement and other nonverbal cues. The key is that such movement must be planned and purposeful. Inappropriate gesturing that contributes no particular meaning or seemingly nervous pacing actually distract.

Dr. Albert Mehrabian36 and other researchers have found that as much as 55 percent of emotion extracted from messages between two people comes from nonverbal

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sources (e.g., facial expressions, or use of hands, shoulders, arms, and legs). Further, an additional 38 percent of meaning comes from verbal cues (e.g., rate of speech, volume, inflection, and tone). That is a total of 93 percent of message meaning from sources other than words. That does not mean that words are not important, it simply means that when a person receives a verbal message accompanied by a nonverbal cue, he or she is more likely to believe or act on the nonverbal message first. Although Mehrabian's research was not focused on large group communication, his findings do emphasize the

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importance of being aware of how you stand, sit, gesture, and move when in front of a group or interacting with learners. Everything from the way you dress to where you put your hands or position yourself in front of a room is watched by someone in your participant group. If you are conscious of this fact, you will likely be more conscientious about what you do as a trainer or facilitator.

The following are some general guidelines that can help improve your effectiveness and enhance your message delivery.

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