What you think, you communicate.
Leaders, when you interact with others please realize that most of your communication is non-verbal. Regardless of what you say, be mindful of what you are communicating.
What’s really on your mind?
When leaders say one thing but think another, what they communicate may be much different than what they intend. Even when leaders say nothing, their facial expressions and body language may be clearly indicating what’s really on their mind. Think of when a simple look across the table quietly signaled to your associate what was on your mind. Rarely however is it good for leaders to get their words, thoughts, and expressions out of sync.
Albert Mehrabian, author and UCLA Psychology Professor Emeritus, wrote about numerous aspects of communication in his book Silent Messages . One often quoted aspect is that of inconsistent communications — the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages. The book discusses how communication related to feelings and attitudes can be perceived as inconsistent if nonverbal cues differ from spoken words. Specifically, messaging related to approval or “liking” is mostly nonverbal:
Total Messaging = 7% Verbal + 38% Vocal + 55% Facial
What’s a leader to do?
One simple solution to the nonverbal dilemma is to first check your thoughts and attitudes about whatever and whoever you choose to engage. If you have strong feelings, good or bad, about a situation or person, it’s likely they will be revealed in your voice and expressions. If instead, you temper the feelings and emotions in your head, you can then engage with others with significantly less complexity, anxiety, and the added burden of strong nonverbal messaging.
It’s written on your face.
Some leaders believe that by carefully choosing their words, or staying silent, they are masking their true feelings of disapproval, skepticism, frustration, mistrust, or anger. In reality however, their face may be screaming something entirely different.
Rob Marchalonis (Rob@LSP123.com) helps business owners and leaders increase employee productivity and morale with various leadership, strategy, and process solutions. Email, or message Rob on LinkedIn.