We've all heard or read the research that asserts the idea less than 10% of our communication is verbal (more like 7%); the other 90+% of our expression comes from body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. In addition to SAYING what you want to say, it is therefore very important you also EXPRESS what you want to say.
For example, it's not always enough to simply say yes to someone and expect them to FULLY accept your agreement with their assertion, you also must EXPRESS yes to the other person. Three very effective ways of EXPRESSING yes or expressing your interest in what the other person is saying include:
- Nodding your head. Nodding is one of the most universally understood human gestures. Even people born blind will nod their head to say yes. So, when you say yes to someone, also nod your head AS you're saying yes. When you agree with something somebody else is saying, nod your head. Your yes and acknowledgment will be more fully accepted and heard by the other party.
- Tilting your head. Tilting your head to one side is also a universally recognized human gesture that signifies your INTEREST in what the other person is saying. When someone else is speaking TO you, simply tilt your head slightly to one side to show interest AND nod your head if you're in agreement with what they are saying.
- Mirroring. Mirroring is another very effective form of non-verbal communication that EXPRESSES interest in and attunement to the other person. Mirroring is simply reflecting the other person's gestures back to them. The goal is NOT to mimic their gestures exactly, but to attune yourself to their posture, their mood and their general body movement. You'll be subtly communicating that you accept the other person and are receptive to their ideas.
Try some or all of the above during your next interaction. Practice them going forward until they become a natural habit. You'll definitely be perceived as a more effective communicator, and you should find people in general will open up more to you.
About the Author:
CAREEREALISM Expert, Andy Robinson is an Executive Career Coach, Career Success Radio Show Host, Personal Branding Strategist, Consultant, and Speaker. He helps his clients love what they do for a living and achieve lasting career success. He is a 15 year executive coaching veteran and works with coaching clients nationwide. Previous experience includes over 10 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a consulting director and human resources specialist.