As leaders, sometimes you have important stuff to say. That’s a fact.
Whether it’s in a board meeting or simply in your home, if you want your message to resonate with the receiver, it is invaluable that what you are saying aligns with what they are seeing in your actions and gestures.
The reality is that humans hear first with their eyes, and second with their ears.
Have you ever heard the quote, “people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel”? Sure, it sounds a little mushy and emotional, but it’s actually scientifically proven. The University of Iowa published a study stating that, for memory, hearing is worse than seeing or feeling. People’s memory for what they hear is just not great. However, for most people, what they see or tangibly experience will stick with them for a much longer period of time.
Does this mean that what you say is not important? Of course not! Words still matter. It simply means that how they see you say it is just as important, because that is what they are most likely to remember. Your nonverbal communication—appearance, gestures and posture—is as important as anything that you say. Your facial expressions and tone in your reaction to others questions or statements will also speak loudly to your audience.
Managing these nonverbal cues is complex. There are so many things to consider. While trying to manage everything from body language to eye contact to facial expressions, it’s easy to forget something in the mix. So how can you be smooth, calm, and collected during your next presentation?
Here are some quick but valuable Tweeted tips that can improve your nonverbal communication instantly:
“When making a formal presentation, move then pause. Human beings are drawn to movement.” @Forbes
“Take a cue from Oprah: steeple your fingers. “Put fingertips to fingertips to increase your authority.” @HuffPostOWN
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” @JohnCMaxwell
“During conversations, mirror. Casually match the mannerisms of the other person to signal a connection.” @CGoman
“Angle your body. Men (more than women) feel confronted if someone stands “squared up” during a conversation.” @Forbes
“Don’t abuse confident stances. If your posture is too alpha, you will not be likeable.” @AmyjcCuddy
“Be sincere. Don’t immediately smile when you greet someone. Pause and look at their face, then smile.” @EntMagazine
“Don’t stare. Continuous eye contact for ten seconds or longer makes most people uncomfortable.” @PsychToday
“For a burst of bravado, raise your chin. Use sparingly, though; this pose can communicate arrogance.” @JanineDriver
“Research shows that presenters who use hand gestures are more effective than speakers who don’t use their hands.” @99u
“Presenters, don’t overdo hand gestures. If people watch your hands more than your face, gesture less.” @PittTweet
And evidence that a few well-placed wrinkles is not actually a bad thing…
“Smile. A genuine smile, also known as a Duchenne smile, is evident by crinkled crow’s feet.” @BusinessInsider
At Milestone Leadership, we know that everything communicates. While you can’t control every circumstance or scenario you walk into, you can control your way of communicating and presenting yourself to others. A big part of being a leader worth following is displaying a demeanor that speaks to your confidence and capabilities—just as much as your empathy and enthusiasm.