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Non-verbal communication

Linda and Zoe talking about non-verbal communication and best practice.
There’s so many different aspects of your body language that you can use positively to engage young people. Your posture’s really important. Standing up tall, shoulders back, little things like that. Not having your hands in your pockets, folding your arms. All of those sorts of things can engage young people. Think about what you’re wearing. Are you wearing dirty clothes or stuff that you’ve just come off a manufacturing line with? Is that gonna affect their opinion of you? Maybe dress a bit smarter than you might normally do. Think about how you use gestures. Do you use your hands a lot or you’re very much hands by your side and you don’t want get animated. Using gestures can bring people in.
It can engage them. And also think about your facial expressions. Do you smile a lot? Do you use your eyebrows? Lot of things like that can have a big impact in drawing your audience in. And also think about eye contact. Make sure you can make eye contact with everybody in the room. Not just one or two people. What about positioning in the room? How could you use that to engage young people? Well, you mentioned eye contact there. If you can see everyone in the room, then you know they can see you. If you can’t see someone because there is a pillar in the way, then they’re not gonna be able to engage with what you’re saying.
They might not see a demonstration or something you’ve brought to show them. So it’s important to move so that you are in pole position at any time. If the young people are involved in a practical activity, then it’s a pretty good idea to move around the room as well. You can get some feedback then about the pace and the progress they’re making. And of course then you’re close to a group if they want some extra input from you, and some help from you.

Non-verbal communication comprises of signals we send and interpret through our gestures, facial expressions, the clothes we wear, eye contact and our position in a room.

Watch the video of Linda and Zoe discussing aspects of non-verbal communication and how these might be used to effectively communicate with young people during activities.


Create a checklist of the different elements of non-verbal communication and share below in the comments. Identify three from your list that you think are particularly important for volunteering with young people.
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Volunteering in the Classroom: Communication Skills for STEM Volunteers

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