Managers and leaders communicate (or they should) often! I remember during my non-verbal communications college class (a very long time ago) – that non-verbal makes up about 55-60% of the effectiveness of the communications. There is no arguement that the words are important, but the are those subtle messages that are non-verbal. Today’s environment makes it tough to really see the non-verbal communications with the way we work. How many meetings that we attend that we sit in our offices? With no video? How many emails do you get? For managers and leaders, when you are present – make sure that your non-verbal is spot on.
Here are some of the things that may seem simple, but I have noticed that many fail to really demonstrate communicating without words.
Eye contact – Having eye contact speaks volumes that you are paying attention than looking directly at the speaker eyes. The opposite speaks extremely the opposite. I have had the opportunity throughout my career to present to many folks. Having them look down at the floor, using their smartphone or working with their laptops – tells me they don’t care!
Smiles – Have you heard, “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Make sure that you start off with a smile. Gets everything started off well for both parties. I remember I was in a class that Andy Grove came in to speak to. He was having a very bad day, negotiations with a company were not going well and he had an opportunity to speak to a management class. He stepped into that opportunity with a smile – none of us even knew how bad his day was going.
Handshakes and pats on the back – It may seem “old school” but when done right, this has a solid impact on the person. The problem is done right! Make sure that it is timely and sincere.
Arriving on time – “Lead by example” – if you want to have a strong message to your organization, show up on-time, everytime.
Management/Leadership by working around – We have our SMBWA for safety.. Try using MBWA as a leader. Walking the hallway, cafe and office area goes a long way to demonstrating you care. How many times have we heard about a leader that sits in his/her office or conference room and does not get out and about with the troops? And when they do, they look down at the carpet as they walk about?
I challenge managers and leaders to pay attention to these and see how your team(s) react! Give it a try, what do you have to lose? Those that work for you, know already when you don’t!
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