Physical Nonverbal Communication
If your problem lies in the physical nonverbal communication world, you may have to work a little harder at creating an effective and productive environment. It may not be possible to create a written plan for acceptable physical nonverbal communication, but you can, through role-playing and discussions, deal with this type of nonverbal communication.
First, identify the nonverbal physical communication styles of your staff. You probably have the eye-roller, the slumped shouldered guy, the defensive arm-crossed gal, and the staff member who never engages in any type of communication and appears standoffish.
For these types, role-playing is a good idea. Write down various types of nonverbal communication styles on small sheets of paper and place them in a small box or bowl. Have two members choose a style and offer them a communication scenario instructing them to use the communication style example provided. This type of role-playing activity often opens the eyes of the offender and helps to change their style.
For those who are truly dismal, no matter what you do, you may need to confront these individuals in private. Perhaps there is something going on in their personal life that creates a negative attitude and physical expression. Maybe co-workers tend to pick on this team member and you are unaware of this situation. Whatever the reason, individual confrontation should be done in private and as the project manager you must use effective listening skills and be sympathetic to their problems.
Finally, when dealing with types of nonverbal communication, especially the physical types, if you’ve made every attempt to connect with the negativity of a staff member to no avail; it’s often better to cut your losses and replace the individual or assign them to a task that doesn’t require much communication or connection to other co-workers.
Image Credit: Role Playing (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Army_52939_Reintegration_Role_playing.jpg)