As people who can inspire others to take action, leaders need to look beyond their words and pay more attention to the subtle communication of their manners and cues while sending powerful messages.
Do you misread others’ words? Is what you are saying taken the wrong way? If so, it is important to think about the importance of nonverbal communication.
What is nonverbal communication?
Nonverbal communication includes your facial expressions, gestures, touching, physical movements, posture as well as the tone, timbre, and volume of your voice.
It is often said that the message is less than 15% what we say and more than 85% based on how we say it.
Importance of Nonverbal Communication
It is the non-verbal portion that conveys to the receiver our true intentions, thoughts, and feelings.
That’s why two people can say the same thing and achieve very different results.
I pay more attention to another’s non-verbal messages than I do to their words. I want to know how sincere they are: if they are trying to convey hidden messages, or if they are playing with me.
For me, it’s the other person’s nonverbal behaviour that helps me understand the key messages that are coming my way. It helps me understand their intentions and feelings.
The work in the field of emotional intelligence tells us that those who interpret nonverbal communication the best have the most success in life. These persons have richer personal interactions.
Mastering nonverbal communication
- Rather than preparing your response while another person is talking, remain silent and watch closely.
- Rather than just listening to the words, note the total context in which the message is conveyed. The context does count. For example, if someone tells me that they have difficulty with my report and they do so in private, that’s one thing. If they make a joke in front of others and put down my work, it conveys a totally different message.
- We know that many nonverbal behaviours are culturally based. Therefore, it is vital to learn what certain behaviours mean in your context.
- Learn the behaviours that are unique to your closest colleagues and friends. For example, making a joke of something may be acceptable to you, but to me, it might be insulting. Know what specific behaviours mean in your context.
- Observe closely because a change in nonverbal behaviours can mean a change in feelings, thoughts or ideas. For example, if a person who is friendly while I am speaking, all of a sudden shifts her body away from me, I begin to wonder what I did to annoy that person.
- Learn to ask open-ended non-threatening questions when a person’s nonverbal and verbal messages are not harmonious.
Always maintain positive intentions when observing or questioning another person.
Observing Nonverbal Communication
As an excellent observer of nonverbal communication, you don’t take messages personally. You don’t absorb others’ negative energy.
You remain positive and in problem-solving mode. You refuse to become negative, antagonistic or blame others.
You are always your best self, and others are not given the opportunity to misinterpret your message and intentions.
Do you want to
- reduce stress and achieve harmony in your personal and professional life?
- be a more effective and efficient leader in your workplace?
If you want to be on top of your game, then you will benefit the most from coaching.
I am offering a free 20-minute consultation to help you decide which coaching package is best for you. Click the button below to schedule a call.
Dr. Brenda Kelleher-Flight