What is Your Body Saying?
Non-verbal Communication: Sight Over Sound
Have you considered the weight that your non-verbal communication has on the image you project at the office or in business? Your non-verbal messages account for seventy percent of your communication, with your verbal messages coming in a distant second at twenty percent and your message tone accounting for ten percent of the weight of your communication.
The moment you walk into a room, people size you up — from head to toe. When you extend an interviewer or business prospect a limp handshake or can’t look them in the eye, they form an opinion of you. The remainder of the conversation is used to gather information to verify their opinion. You’ve heard the expression, “First impressions are lasting.” This is a fact.
Body language is a powerful expression of passion, attitude and suggestion. Listening to a good speech can be inspiring, but watching the performer deliver the speech is what causes us to take action. We catch their energy, feel their emotions and are captivated by their physical appearance, facial expressions and body language.
That same type of non-verbal communication is applied in the business world. Regardless of how well a performer you might be, performance is only the entrance ticket. It will get you through the gate and onto the playing field, but there are unwritten rules that you must follow if you expect to rise above the competition. You might say that’s unfair. After all, you were taught from an early age that, if you work hard you’ll get ahead. But, not only must you work you hard, you must work smart as well. As essential as hard work is, image is often the tie-breaker when the decision comes down to several good candidates.
You might feel that your experience, intellect and education are your ticket to success. The truth, however, is that you can have more degrees than a thermometer (pun intended!) and not get invited into the “club.” There are other factors that must be considered, including the culture in which you wish to engage. Most people focus more on what they will say in a given situation and place less emphasis on non-verbal communication. By all means, learn the language — for example, you should know when it’s more appropriate to use the term ‘investment’ versus the term ‘price.’ But the greater weight of importance in your communication tilts toward that which is not vocalized-your attire, hair, posture, demeanor, timeliness, poise under pressure, team player, etc.
There is a good reason Image Consultants are in high demand. People are investing their resources in discovering ways to give themselves a competitive advantage — in life and work.
What image do you project at the office or in a business meeting? What messages do you convey as a first impression? My challenge to you is to review the elements of communication and the weight given to each: 70% non-verbal, 20% verbal and 10% tone. Start using them as a measure for empowering yourself to win in the game of life and in business.
Rebecca McClain is the founder of Life Treasures LLC. As an entrepreneur, author, speaker and coach, she inspires people all across the nation and internationally. In November 2009, she launched the online networking platform, Build A Thriving Business Network, for women and minorities in business. Look for her on the next cover of People You Need to Know. She can be reached at (678) 289-0148.