Body language is the most visible and obvious indicator of a spokesperson’s emotional state. Although a non-verbal form of communication, body language speaks volumes about what a person really thinks of the message they are intending to convey.
Academic and professional opinions have stressed the need to be sensitive to non-verbal communication in order to make PR truly really effective. According to famous psycholinguist David McNeill, body gestures, rather than being unrelated to the content spoken by a subject, actually team intimately with the words to convey true meaning.
With this in mind, PR professionals need to be aware that both their speech and body language should be considered together and managed as a whole. It is vital that the relevance and importance of body language in PR and the extent to which it can help or hinder professional activities is never overestimated.
PR professionals can strengthen and highlight their messages by harnessing the power of body language, which involves focusing on the multiple aspects of non-verbal communication, such as posture, eye contact and hand gestures. These should be considered in conjunction with the verbal aspects, such as voice tone, speed of delivery and modulation. Effective PR firms understand that an essential component of their work is to prepare their clients for interviews through media training. This training should involve the finer points of non-verbal communication, which in addition to the aforementioned, also covers personal presentation, attire and grooming.
All too frequently, the PR professional can become so focused on the power of the spoken word that they fail to address the importance of non-verbal communication. This can often result in their client missing the primary PR objectives by failing to utilise the right combination of body signals to accurately convey their message. This failure is also evident in PR campaigns, where contemporary media platforms are more capable of highlighting and showcasing non-verbal aspects of PR communication.
The real masters of PR know that body language can hugely enhance the credibility of a campaign by adding multiple layers of meaning to a plain and simple message. Body language loads the spoken word with an emotional spirit and an air of truthfulness. If the non-verbal body gestures fail to match with the message being conveyed, it will create a disconnection that can negatively influence and be detrimental to an otherwise well-planned PR campaign or strategy.
The most effective PR professionals know that an effective message touches both the hearts and minds of the target audience. In achieving this, there needs to be a believable match between what they are communicating verbally and what people are actually seeing. Ultimately, a harmony between the spoken word and bodily gestures is what is required. This is a vital skill that the PR professional needs to fully understand and incorporate when planning an effective PR strategy.