You send secret messages and you do it every day. Scary isn’t it?
The thought that you are unconsciously communicating something to people around you that is having a huge impact is something that smart billing manager’s study.
In case you haven’t worked it out just yet it’s your body language, to be precise non-verbal body language and communication.
Is body language really that important?
Yes it is.
Have you ever felt intimidated by someone on your team or in your recruitment company, perhaps a billing director or manager? Or maybe you didn’t hire a new trainee because they came across, as a limp lettuce?
Think about the impact of your own body language and how that might be impacting your results. Are you communicating ‘something’ to your billing team that you don’t mean to?
The good news is that small and sometimes subtle changes can make a huge difference to the impact you are having with people you want to ‘influence’ and at all levels.
I had been a recruitment manager for some time before I understood what this was all about. Luckily it was covered in detail in a number of the advanced training I undertook and consequently I have been able to use it over the years to improve the way I communicate and teach communication on our programmes.
Non-verbal communication has been studied in depth, and the information I am about to share is based on decades of research by Albert Mehrabian of UCLA.
He is THE recognised expert in this field. His research findings showed that when we communicate a message, the receiver’s feelings and attitudes are 7% determined by spoken communication while 38% relates to voice qualities such as pace, volume, tone and intonation.
This means that a HUGE 55% of how we communicate relates to our non-verbal body language.
In summary, “It’s not what we say, it’s how we say it” that makes the difference between how well or not our message lands.
Imagine you are delivering a performance review with one of your billing team or you are presenting a team update. You have everything prepared; PowerPoints, handouts etc etc.; yet you have totally forgotten how you will deliver your message using your own body language and non-verbal communication.
The big issue then is that your non-verbal communication can contradict your written message; yikes! It happens frequently in some organisations.
So if 93% of how you communicate is non-verbal what can you do to make the most of your body language? Here are my favourite 2 errors people make and their corresponding quick fix.
Some of us find it easy to make eye contact, while others don’t. When you are communicating something uncomfortable i.e. poor KPI achievement or skills, it can be tempting to look at the walls, the ceiling, the floor, your computer screen — anywhere but the consultant you are talking to.
However, an averted gaze sends a series of bad messages. It can indicate a lack of confidence, which can be perceived as both your confidence and your confidence in your message. What’s more, it limits your ability to read the responses of the individual or billing team you are talking to.
The reality is that simply maintaining a normal steady gaze will avoid all of the potential trauma associated with a message being perceived in the wrong way.
It might sound strange and sitting like the, proverbial sulky teenager, sends across the wrong message. A few years ago I was coaching a recruiter in an organisation in London. There was huge conflict between her and the billing manager in question.
He carried out all conversations whilst slouching in his chair. She perceived this as a lack of respect and the attitude that he couldn’t give a, s**))!! about her and her future in the company.
The individual in question did this all the time and was truly shocked when I pointed this out. I was luckily able to show him the impact his body language was having before it was too late.
These are just two practical ways you can improve your non-verbal communication. So where will you start?