Let’s talk about non-verbal communication

By Linda Sherwin / September 16, 2018

Have you ever met someone for the first time and immediately felt eager to get to know the person or suddenly wanted to run away? What’s going on you may ask?

Well, actually you are picking up the full communication from that person which might be positive or negative. People in sales or customer service should be aware of this because that first impression can mean the success or failure of the interaction.

They don’t even have to say a word. Just something about them affects you in one way or another. Well, that “something” is the non-verbal communication that constitutes the biggest part of our communication. We sense this at a subconscious level and to some extent triggers the primal fight or flight response. While we may not choose to fight the person, we may choose to walk away instead.

The non-verbal communication can be anything from the way the person is standing or sitting, the gestures they are making or their facial expressions. In an instant, you will find this communication to be inviting or repelling. You may not even know “why” you are affected this way – just that you are!

A good exercise to increase your awareness is to be mindful when this happens. I always suggest to my clients to “people watch.” And of course, with the caveat to not become a stalker! Watch other people around you – both those whom you know and those who are complete strangers.

Often, with friends or colleagues, you may aware of certain idiosyncrasies that the person demonstrates and you already know what it means and are not affected by it. Or you can tell immediately because of those same characteristics what sort of a mood the person is in and respond accordingly.

But when it comes to a complete stranger or someone whom you are meeting for the first time in a business situation, what is their full communication saying to you? Is it open and friendly or is it closed and distant or even hostile?

As you become aware of other peoples’ communication, keep in mind that this is YOUR perception and your perception can be based on your experiences, interpretation and even your culture.

It works in reverse as well. People perceive your full communication and will respond accordingly – either negatively or positively.

Start today to people watch and note what your perception is and why it is. I think you will find it very interesting and informative.

To Being Heard,

About the author

Linda Sherwin

Linda Sherwin has over 20 years extensive experience in corporate facilitations, coaching, keynotes and presentations in domestic and international markets. Known for her passionate presentation style and high energy, Linda teaches her clients how to tap into their own personal effectiveness to improve the bottomline by encouraging authentic communication at all levels of the organization. Linda is a published author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller All the Workplace is a Stage: Acting Techniques to Create Award-Winning Business Performance.