If you thought what you actually say has the most impact on those you meet, then think again. The non-verbal factors such as facial expression and gestures, combined with your voice tone and all it expresses, far outweigh the appropriateness of your word choice when it comes to making a good impression. The work Professor Birdwhistell (Introduction to Kinesics, Kinesics and Context), demonstrated that the verbal component of face-to-face conversations is less than 35% and that over 65% of communication is done non-verbally. The good news is that most people have good instincts when it comes to body language signals. The not so good news is that this natural ability will easily lead those you meet into spotting if you are not authentic i.e. if there is a mismatch between what you say and how you say it.
What are the implications for you, particularly when you want to make a good impression?
- Learn to use positive open gestures.
- Eliminate gestures that may give negative signals.
- Use your voice to convey all of the feelings you want others to pick up on (sincerity, enthusiasm, warmth…).
Not sure how to go about it? If you feel there is room for improvement, get some feedback from those at work or at home that you can trust. Personal coaching or voice work (with The Training Box of course) is also an option.
For background reading and an excellent introduction to all that concerns body language, check out our book tip:
The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Secret Meaning Behind People’s Gestures (2004, Orion) by Allan Pease & Barbara PeasePublisher: Orion (21 Oct 2004)