How buff is your body language?
Was Apple’s introduction of Screen Time ‘wellbeing’ tools in September last year the equivalent of Mars Inc sticking a diet plan into a Snickers bar?
The answer is debatable, but there are no statistics required to confirm our ongoing love of the screen, with sms and emoticons replacing the need to flex those mouth muscles.
And spare a thought for body language!
With the rapid development in digital technology and a growing desire for working outside the traditional communal office space – what is the role of non-verbal communication factor in a digital world?
Scientific research on non-verbal communication varies. However, all research agrees on is that between 70-90% of all communication links to non-verbal cues.
So how do we conduct business without one of our biggest communicators?
The simple answer. We don’t. (Try sitting on your hands while trying to get your point across if you don’t believe me).
Although initial business transactions can be done via the means of our super-reliable technology, business meetings are not an endangered species.
When it comes time to ‘seal the deal’, ‘win the client’ or ‘land that job’ – these interactions are still done by traditional meeting methods. Visually. If not face to face – via video link.
And why? Because trustworthiness can’t be assessed via text message or emoji.
So imagine the horror when you’ve done all the preliminary work via digital mastery to interest a company in the services or products you have to offer.
All you need to do is meet them to sign on the dotted line.
And you blow it.
We recently ran experiential training with 40 sales trainees focusing on client communication. They had their scripts and they knew their products well. However, their body language overwhelmingly showed us that:
They were more engaged in pushing a specific product than meeting the client’s needsThey were not really listening (too busy conjuring up their next sentence).They were not open to questionsThey were in a hurry to end the meeting
Their words did not match what their body was communicating.
Never underestimate the skill of refining your non-verbal communication so you don’t lose that client at the final hurdle. Remember, the signs you communicate with your body and tone are as informative as a well-crafted pitch.
Our non-verbal communication app is under development :), but in the interim here are a few HITT (High Intensive Team Training) tips to help build your non-verbal fitness.
1. Eye contact.
Are you aware of how much eye contact you make? This is key to developing trust and connection between people. Too little - you’re hiding something, too much, and you may scare people. So keep your cool. Emphasise an important point by making eye contact as you speak your most important message, this should ensure your message gets through.
Here’s an exercise to help determine how much or how little eye contact is comfortable
Find a friend. Sit opposite each other. Explain your day in no less than 5 mins. Ask your friend to call out ‘HEY’ if they feel they haven’t been looked at in a while and ‘WHOH…’ if they feel they are being stared at for too long. Reverse roles and repeat.
This should give you some guidelines as to a comfortable amount of eye contact & also create a discussion point at the end as you both discover your comfort points. Don’t forget to both take turns, as we think you’ll find as much learning from giving as receiving.
2. Active listening.
Sounds like one of the easiest things in the world to do, but in this busy world - it can be more difficult than it sounds. Show the person you are dealing with that you are listening attentively by giving an occasional nod and try this small exercise to stretch those listening muscles.
Turn on a TED talk or podcast. Find yourself a commonly used word. Like the word ‘THE’, ‘LAST’ or something similar. Listen to something approx.. 5 minutes long. Note down how many times your word is said. It may surprise you. And will flex those listening muscles
This simple non-verbal technique often occurs subconsciously by people who like each other, however, it can be a great non-verbal cue to display to the person you are with that you understand them, you’re listening and are part of their team. This exercise below will help you become more aware of mirroring as a whole:
At any time during your day, catching up with friends, family or work colleagues, become aware of their body language and physically copy it. After some time, change yours. Do they follow? You might find some surprising results and your body will become more attuned to following the signs of others.
Serious Woo offers "High-Intensity Team Training Sessions" on a range of Communication and Creativity topics.
Book in a Lunch and Learn today for a fast results!