When you are talking with someone, they see so much more than the words you speak. In fact, 80% of communication is nonverbal. You may wonder what that exactly means. As a whole, nonverbal communication sends intentional or unintentional messages to those with whom you are communicating.
You see, we can help you find your zebras, or perfect fit customers, through our guided selling software, yet you still need to communicate with these potential customers. That also means you need to be aware of how you are speaking beyond your words. Here are some ways nonverbal communication occurs.
Space: The distance you put between yourself and the person you are talking to speaks volumes. This is even more important as we all work to practice social distancing. This space can be what’s acceptable socially as well as what you personally accept within your personal space constraints. You likely already realize when someone gets too close or even is too far away.
Time: Time is valuable; however, not everyone values it the same way. For example, you likely know which people will be habitually late and which will be early. This is important when you hold meetings and set time deadlines. Likewise, it speaks volumes if you start meetings on time or even run late.
Appearance: Our personal grooming, clothing and accessories speak on our behalf. It is important to remember that what we choose to wear and express as ourselves tells others whether we are serious, lazy or in control. A more in-depth nonverbal aspect even breaks down to the colors of clothes worn to communicate on your behalf.
Tone: How we speak tells others more than the meaning of the words themselves. Think of those times when people talked in hush tones versus being loud and boisterous. The same can be said with the speed at which we talk. Are you a fast talker who rushes to fit in everything without a breath or are you a slow talker who emphasizes each word?
Posture: You likely know when you feel confident as you usually stand a bit taller or walk a bit more confidently. That posture tells others what you think of that moment, such as in a meeting. Our posture can change throughout a day or even in interactions. How we shrug our shoulders, stand, sit and even walk all communicates on our behalf.
Eye Contact: It is important to consider what our eyes are doing while we are verbally communicating or listening to someone else. In an ideal interaction, you will maintain eye contact but not stare. That means you also need to blink and move your eyes around as well. The “deer in the headlights” look can be very daunting for the other person and make the situation quickly uncomfortable. The important aspect to remember is to work on continuing eye contact throughout the interaction.
Facial Expressions: One of the hardest side effects of masks is that we miss facial expressions. Those little smiles, laughs, frowns, nose wrinkles and even grimaces speak nonverbally. The same, however, can be said about the eyes. We likely can all recall moments when we saw someone roll their eyes at us and wonder why. When we practice maintaining eye contact, we are able to pick up more on these nonverbal facial expressions.
Gestures: How our body moves, intentional or not, tells others what we are communicating. We all know a wave is a sign of hello. We also know the gestures of frustration and anger. Each gesture we use can communicate. This often goes beyond the basics to include how we are using our hands during conversations. Likewise, our body movements speak on our behalf. Many of us have a “tell” for when we are angry, nervous, frustrated or excited. We may think we hide these, especially if they are not intentional; however, they may be visible to the person we’re talking to. Think of that person who is constantly moving in their chair, bouncing their knee or rubbing their elbows.
Silence: Not everyone is comfortable with silence; however, it is an important nonverbal cue. Many people are willing to fill the silence quickly instead of giving the other person the opportunity to further process their own thoughts and responses. On the flip side, it is important to give ourselves permission to embrace silence for our own processing. Sometimes it means asking for just a few minutes.
Each of these nonverbal elements is important for us to understand related to how we communicate ourselves and also how others communicate without words. Watching for every aspect initially can be overwhelming, but start by focusing more on how you and others use one aspect. Then continue to add to your own observations, usage and understanding.
By understanding these aspects we can improve our sales communication and process. Likewise, as you work to enhance your nonverbal communication, we will continue to help you find your zebras, just as we have done for over 20 years through our guided selling software. Call us at 1-833-594-7120 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help you achieve your goals to Find, Close and Retain the right customers.