Mastering Non Verbal Communication
with Daymond John
With guest Daymond John #MakingBank S4E37
In business and in life, knowing how to communicate is one of the biggest factors in reaching your goals and being happy. We are social creatures and we are all dependent on those around us to varying degrees, so having good relationships with at least a small number of people greatly improves the quality of our time both at work and at home.
But communication is not always easy or as straightforward as just speaking your mind or being honest. As the saying goes, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and the many subtleties of communication can actually be more important than your choice of words, so it’s more than worth it to make an effort to understand the intricacies of this art form. Even if you never master it completely, improving how you communicate with those around you will pay dividends in and outside the office.
- Body Language
The subconscious communicator! Body language can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Studies indicate that body language is responsible for anywhere between 50-80% of communication, so if you’re giving people the wrong vibes through your body language it can render what you’re trying to say completely moot.
One of the most important elements of body language and also one of the easiest to practice is eye contact. You should aim to maintain eye contact with whoever you’re talking to for about 50% of the conversation, letting your eyes wander for the rest. Nodding and repeating the words of the person you’re listening to is also very beneficial, as it let’s them know you’re paying attention and interested in what they have to say – i.e. is the secret sauce for establishing rapport.
Instead of trying to pull off the perfect posture, try to stay loose. Remain open – no crossed arms or legs – and simply do what comes naturally. If you feel your body tensing up, that’s probably a bad sign. Focusing on your breath will help keep you relaxed, allowing your body language to flow more naturally, making you seem more friendly and approachable.
If body language is 50% of your communication, your tone is at least 30%. This should come as no surprise to you, but even though we all know the feeling of being spoken to in a degrading or accusatory tone of voice, most of us find it hard not to commit this error ourselves when we’re frustrated.
In general your tone should fluctuate gently between high and low, erring on the high side. Speaking monotonously is a great way to make yourself seem dull, unengaged or just plain annoying.
If you’re tense it will come out through your voice, so just like with your body, focusing on the breath is a simple trick you can always have in your back pocket. Taking a deep breath allows you to speak from your diaphragm and communicate calmly with a gentle, natural and relaxing tone of voice, which will help whoever you’re talking to listen to and digest what you have to say.
Let’s look at this from a unique but equally important angle: matching your words with your actions. The best body language and tone of voice in the world won’t matter at all if they are discovered to be disingenuous. If the 2 elements don’t match up, you’re going to wind up rubbing many people the wrong way, and rightly so.
From the perspective of an employer, you need to practice what you preach. If you are constantly stressing the value of working late, you better consistently be one of the last people to leave the office. Lead by example and simply let your words serve to highlight what you’re showing people.
4. Online Presence
In the year 2020, this may be just as important as your actions. Like it or not, people are going to research you. After you meet someone, what are they going to find?
Often the first encounter you have with someone simply serves to let them know you exist. Even if they’re interested in who you are or what you had to say, the real conclusion about you won’t come until after they’ve seen your social media profiles – or lack thereof.
That doesn’t mean we have to pretend to be angels in the digital world. In fact, it’s a better idea to let your personality shine through to some degree. It also doesn’t mean you need to overdo it and share everything. Having a limited social media presence can actually be refreshing and make you appear like a more serious, well rounded person.
Whatever you do, keep the debauchery offline and don’t spend your time trolling or getting into silly arguments. If the first thing people see when they look you up on Facebook is a political argument you’re having with your aunt Cheryl, you can kiss your reputation goodbye.
5. The Plot Twist
Becoming a better communicator can be a boon for anyone. It will help you in your dealings, in your social life and at home. When you communicate well you have better relationships, and when you have better relationships your whole life improves.
However, stressing over mastering this skill would be a mistake. The most important underlying element of communication is being calm and easy to speak to, so stressing yourself out over doing this well will have the opposite effect.
Pay attention to your communication, but don’t focus too much on mastering it. Instead, focus on being a better you, and letting that better you communicate naturally. Breathe. Be easy. Let it happen.
Your body language and your actions communicate the truth about you, so if you want them to communicate something positive, you need to make sure that truth is something people like. If you like yourself first, everyone else will follow.