Have you ever wondered why sometimes you get a gut feeling about somebody?
We’re going to talk about something you can implement which will help you get your message across in a way that it is absorbed much better, quicker and easier and has a greater impact.
But when you don’t do this you can find that no one understands exactly what it is that you’re saying or they actually refuse to accept the information you give them even though it is the truth.
What I’m talking about is nonverbal communication.
We know that we’re all experts in our specific area and our expertise really does need to shine – but often it doesn’t. What often happens when you just present data is that you miss a lot of the information that should come across with the data. And most of the time that information is nonverbal.
Things like, how confident you might look, how good your delivery is, how you present yourself when you’re actually presenting that data. And I know a lot of people say that the facts should speak for themselves, let the data to do the talking etc and a whole variety of other things like that but the reality is that’s not how human beings work.
Human beings go through a whole host of different processes as we meet people that help us understand who they are. We instantly and subconsciously assess whether they’re going be a threat, food or a mate and how we can actually then deal with that person on a day to day basis. We are looking for the non-verbal signals so that we can make decisions based on our feelings as well as on the information that’s being provided.
I’m sure you are aware of the expression – lies, damn lies, and statistics! Well, this refers to situations where statistics are being presented and yet interpreted in a number of different ways. This can happen with anything involving data. Data can be manipulated to show different things of course, but equally the people listening will take a different meaning from the data depending on how they interpret your non-verbal signals.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have a large project approaching deadline and you have a feeling in your stomach that something is not right. Maybe the provider is not necessarily giving you all the information. Perhaps something is actually turning out better than planned but they’re not able to articulate that? And you have a gut feeling that this is the right decision or a gut feeling that it’s the wrong decision?
Imagine this. You have a project worth millions and you have vendors coming in to pitch.
Now the first lot arrive, and they are suited and booted. Their presentation is crisp and they go through each one of the bullet points with absolute precision. But you kind of get a feeling that is very mechanical, it feels like they are presenting for themselves, not for you.
And then the other characters arrive in Hawaiian looking shirts with the hair almost sprouting out the top of it and wearing sandals and you are thinking “oh my god do they realize this is a professional setting?”.
Sometimes they turn out to be the ones that are actually more interesting.
Their proposal is well informed and well presented but when they hand over the proposal they almost scurry backwards to get as far away from the table as possible.
These are classic fear signs, but what are they afraid of are they afraid of? The number that they put in their proposal? Are they afraid of your comments or the feedback?
These are the kind of things that you need to be aware of because however good your proposal is, if you’re giving off these kinds of signals, then think about what messages are you giving out when you are presenting? How are you presenting yourself?
If you haven’t had the response you wanted or expected then it may be down to your non-verbal communication.
So, ask yourself this, are you going to learn a little bit more about what your nonverbal communication is like and how to recognise it in yourself and other people? Are you also going to work on your own nonverbal communication, to make sure that every time you have a conversation with somebody, you are presenting yourself in the best possible way?
Or are you just going to ignore it and hope the data does the work!