Tips to effective communication

Do you have a hard time connecting and communicating with your project team, colleagues, bosses, legislative representatives, Councils and Commissioners?  Do you seem to be talking but for some reason your message just doesn’t come across the way you hoped it would?

What if the reason wasn’t that they aren’t listening, but rather that you were only using 20% of your ability to effectively communicate with them?  To put it another way, what if you were only communicating on a 3rd grade level (approximately 20% of a high school education) to get your point across?

You’d be thought a fool right?  Someone who obviously lacks professional qualities and probably only made it to your current position by accident.

What am I talking about you ask?  Several studies have shown that somewhere between 50% and 97% of all communication is non-verbal.

When you’re in a group setting or walking through the halls of your office, do you smile?  Do you make eye contact?  Whether you like it or not, your colleagues judge you by this simple automated response.  If you smile, they will immediately feel that you are friendly, non-threatening and open to conversation.  Make absolutely no facial expressions and you will be thought cold, evasive and a recluse.

If you’re in a people business, which 98% of you are simply by the fact you need to work with other people, then work on your smile.  Make eye contact when you are talking with others.  Be approachable in your demeanor.

Many large organizations from Holiday Inn to Safeway  will literally identify how many times a candidate smiles during an interview as a key parameter as to whether that person gets hired or not.  If you don’t make eye contact or smile, you will be thought to have a low self-image.  People with a low self-image are never quality leaders for many of the reasons I’ve mentioned above.

So, the point is this.  If you want to lead, to be understood and recognized as a good communicator, then use non-verbal communication effectively.  Otherwise, you have less than a 50% chance of being understood, in any conversation.  So make eye contact and smile and watch what happens to you and to the world in front of you.

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