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.

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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.

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Tags: Atlanta Image Consultant Business Coach Life Coach Rebecca McClain

27 had something to say.
  1. sem_wiz_kid

    Wow...another magazine theme......this is a great blog...I’m re-thinking what I thought I knew before reading this. Thanks for a well-written piece.

  2. Wilmaryad

    This is an article that makes sense. What would be interesting, and quite challenging to achieve, is to detect non-verbal communication during online chats, especially ones without a camera and a microphone. :)

  3. PYNTK

    Thanks for the compliments. Your presence is appreciated. All the credit goes to Ms. Rebecca McClain. :-)

  4. Dori

    This article is so intriguing. This is certainly going to make me be more aware of my own non-verbal communication.

  5. Tarona

    I love this article because it sheds a bright light on the fact that being the best at what you do will not lead you to success on its own. You absolutely have to have the right image which includes your verbal and non-verbal communication cues. And, in addition to your image, you will also need the exposure. No longer is it not what you know, but who you know. It is now more important who knows you.

    Thanks Rebecca for sharing this information!

  6. Ann Mullins

    This article was delightful to read. Even after my graduate studies, I find this information so helpful. I will continue to read your magazine. We need to read more articles like this. I love the image of your featured writer and look forward to your next issue. As a business woman, I feel the need for a coach.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. PYNTK

    This would most definitely put the brain on spin.

  8. PYNTK

    I'm always self-conscious when it comes to my non-verbal communication because it can definitely be misread. My husband always tells me that my facial expressions in public are too numerous to count.

  9. PYNTK

    I'm with you ... she did an excellent job on this article. Thanks for your insight. :-)

  10. PYNTK

    Hello Ann,

    Thanks so much for your compliments. I'm glad you enjoyed Ms. McClain's article as well. You're not alone; as women, we could all use a coach to help us navigate the treacherous waters of this business world.

  11. Brenda

    always, always wonderful to be reminded of these basics. Well written piece and thanks for publishing.

  12. Suellen

    Reading this reminds me that projecting an air of confidence and approachability really goes a long way when we're first meeting someone in a business or social setting.

  13. Catherine

    This is so true; I can't tell you how many times I've met with a "great-sounding" client on the phone and then met them, only to encounter a wet handshake!!:(( That tells me more than they said during an hour-long conversation, just to discuss their project. Good article and very essential to today's marketplace.

  14. Bonnie Pond

    This article speaks to a reality we often overlook. You can be terrific at what you do, but a poor first impression will close doors and block potential business before you can even talk about what you do or be of service to clients. This article is both timely and timeless. Thank you.

  15. Rosalind

    Very informative article. These are essential points that one should always keep in mind.

  16. Ruby

    This is an awesome and inspiring article by Rebecca McClain. I would love to hear more from her. It is especially relevant in today's market place when so many are in the job market. Kudos to you, Rebecca!

  17. Dee

    Wow! Thank you so much Rebecca this was a very timely article for me. I hadn't been on an interview in awhile and I read your article on Tuesday it helped me in preparing for my interview on yesterday. It helped me to exude more confidence among other things. Sometimes when you're out of the main stream of things it's good to have tools/articles out there to help you reconnect the dots. Thank you. I look forward to reading your next article. Keep them coming.

  18. Dee

    Hi Rebecca, Here's an update on my job status. I got the job! Thanks again for the article "What is Your Body Saying". Perfect timing.

  19. PYNTK

    Let us be the first to say, Congrats!!!! :-)

  20. Rebecca McClain

    Woo hoo! Congratulations Dee; you're off to a great start!!!

  21. Rebecca McClain

    Thanks Brenda. Sometimes we can all use a reminder of some basic, but important principles.

  22. Rebecca McClain

    Thanks for your comment, Ruby. It's encouraging to know that you find the information relevant. Bookmark the page and check back for more timely messages.

  23. Rebecca McClain

    Thanks, Rosalind. That's encouraging to know.

  24. Rebecca McClain

    Bonnie, thanks for your take on the article. Sometimes we forget the impact of first impressions. Articles such as this are good reminders to keep us on our P's and Q's.

  25. Rebecca McClain

    Thanks Catherine, and ditto on your comments :-)

  26. Rebecca McClain

    I couldn't agree more, Suellen. Thanks for the comment.

  27. Pat Browne

    Rebecca, excellent and very timely article. Oftentimes we forget the importance of non-verbals, especially during first meetings or presentations. As a business owner, I do appreciate this important reminder as I grow and develop myself and my business. Thanks so much.


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