The WORD

June 1, 2017

The WORD

Q: How important is non-verbal communication in the workplace?

Jodi Chapman

Advanced Wellness & Behavioural Centre – Owner

Non-verbal communication means a great deal in the workplace when it comes to both your clientele and your staff. There are many variables involved in communication that need to be taken into consideration, such as personality types. Where some people are more forthright than others and more likely to say how they feel, others are more subdued by nature and less likely to say what is on their mind. Therefore a keen eye for body language and other forms of non-verbal communication is a valuable tool in maintaining a happy team dynamic among your staff, as well as eliciting a positive response from your clientele in terms of customer service – going above and beyond in meeting their needs, and managing any complaints if they arise.

 

Catherine Molloy

Auspac Business Advantage – Founder/CEO

Non-verbal communication is king in the workplace.  Research tells us that up to 80 per cent of what we say can be communicated without speaking a word. In fact, we can speak so loudly without even uttering a sound! I have found that in a nanosecond, we can alter our body’s physiology to create positive results. So what’s your body language verbalising to others at work? Our non-verbal behaviours are key, and they include: what we wear, our facial expressions, gestures, posture, and even the way we smell. These are clues to how we are feeling and how we make others feel about us. We make our first impression in just seven seconds, so being conscious of our non-verbals is the first key to unlocking the secrets of business success.

 

Michael Shadforth

Sunshine Coast Chambers Alliance – Chairman

Just like your personal presentation says something about you, so too does the environment in which you work.  Hard seats, lined up against a wall in a reception area give the impression the waiting room you are in is aimed at a fast turnaround of customers. A lawyer’s waiting area speaks volumes about the privacy and personal nature of the visit with plush carpets, small meeting rooms and hushed tones.

On the other hand, you would expect the reception area of a design firm would be funky, cutting edge and composed of tactile fabrics to encourage the discussion and sharing of ideas. Non-verbal communication is all around us from the way we dress to what our office space says about us – make sure you are sending the right message.

 

Adrian Hunter

Hunts Fitness – Owner

Within three seconds, your status, intelligence and conscientiousness, among other characteristics, is assessed and the consumer has determined if they like you and want to do business with you. These first impressions are all formed off the basis of non-verbal communication – your dress and appearance, eye contact, expressions, posture and gestures – making this mode imperative to establishing that elusive element of credibility and expertise from the get-go. In a competitive and evolving market where consumers are demanding personal attention, genuine interest and a relationship of trust to sustain their engagement in your brand or service, non-verbal communication surpasses dialogue. Having inviting spaces, a professional presentation, passion, and confidence in your product or service states who you are. Make sure what you’re not saying is as distinctive as what you are.

 

Adam Erbacher

The Film Tree Creative – Director

Video production requires us to use nearly every mode of communication available to deliver the final product. We’re regularly filming clients who aren’t used to being in front of a camera and we have to be sensitive to that fact. Therefore, when the camera rolls, we’re often communicating using simple gestures, smiles, nods and eye contact. This is a delicate situation since we want them to feel comfortable and look professional. In an office environment, non-verbal communication is closely linked to our team’s productivity and overall morale. This is important to remember when working with different personality types, particularly when we’re under pressure. We have the power to either positively or negatively affect the team just through our body language and the tone of our voice.

 

Barbara Pease

Pease International – CEO

In face-to-face meetings, 60 to 80 per cent of the impact of your message is non-verbal, and others form up to 90 per cent of their opinion about you in the first four minutes. Your handshake, gestures and overall body language largely determine how well you succeed in your personal and business lives, so there are some do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind. For example, stand in a reception area and walk into your interview with medium length steps. Shake hands while keeping your palm vertical and match the same hand pressure you receive. Use the interviewer’s name twice in the first 15 seconds to establish rapport and to remember their name, and use ‘you’ sentences rather than ‘I’ statements. And finally, avoid crossing your arms, hands or feet.

 

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