Nonverbal Communication is More Important Than What You Say

Communication is not only about what you say.  Actually only 7% of communication is through words leaving the rest things like the tone of your voice, facial expressions, posture, gestures, etc.  What nonverbal communication is coming through from you?  Are you authentic when you speak?  If you say you feel great but you speak in a monotone with no excitement in your voice and there are dark circles under your eyes, the person will probably think that you are not great and that you need more sleep.  Is your face puffy from not eating a good diet?  How do you shake hands?  If you have a “wimpy” handshake I assume you are lacking in confidence.  I like firmness but not so much that you break the bones in my hand.  Do you drive people nuts with annoying habits like gum chewing, clicking pens, or fooling with your hair?  Do you stand tall or do you slouch?   Do you have eye contact with people?  Do you walk and talk with authority or do you apologize and speak softly?  Are your clothes neat and clean or looking like you wore them to bed the night before?  You don’t have to spend a fortune on your wardrobe but neat and clean does help determine their opinion of you and whether they want to listen to you.

Today and I came across this quote: “People aren’t going to remember what you said.  They will remember how you made them feel.”   With only 7% of communication coming from what we say, we need to be thinking about what nonverbal clues we are leaving.   People love to be heard.  When listening to people are you thinking about what you are going to say next or do you really listen and then formulate your comments?   Are you able to empathize with them?  You don’t need to do what they want but it’s good if you can stand in their shoes to see where they are coming from.  Do you interrupt or finish their sentences?  Unfortunately I  plead guilt to both of those and I’m working to improve.  Do you lift people up or drag them down with your comments?

These are important to think about all the time and not just at work.  When communicating with your children, do you really listen?  When my kids were younger I tried to avoid getting emotional and preachy and instead treated them with respect by trying to really listen to what they were saying.  It was always a challenge to understand the needs that were buried under what they were saying.  Often that came out in the nonverbal clues.  How do you make your children feel or your friends or your employees?  Just remember it’s a lot more than words.

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