We’re watching events in Brussels with interest and wonder if some of the politicians could use a little help. From "The Lowdown: Dodging the Bullet - Effective Risk Communications Skills" by Andrew Roberts and Andrew Powell, here are a few tips on body language...
Non-verbal communications (NVC) or ‘body language’ These can either enhance the first impressions you give, or destroy them.
Not only are non-verbal communications more noticeable during controversy, they are picked up almost instantly — usually within that crucial first 30 seconds.
Research has identified over 50 non-verbal cues that people use to judge trust and credibility. NVCs can contribute massively to perceptions of openness and honesty — and with as much as 20% of trust being determined by openness and honesty, their power cannot be underestimated.
Let’s look at some common non-verbal communications and the messages they send:
· The eyes have it! Poor eye contact can suggest that you are dishonest, closed, unconcerned or nervous. Excellent eye contact, on the other hand, delivers the message that you are honest, open, competent, sincere, dedicated, confident, knowledgeable and interested. This, folks, is the whole package!!!
· Sitting back in your chair will make you appear uninterested, unenthusiastic, unconcerned and uncooperative. But sitting forward in your chair will show you to be interested, enthusiastic, concerned and cooperative.
· If you keep your hands hidden, this will suggest that you may be deceptive, guilty, or insincere. Open hands, however, will convey that you are open and sincere.
· The tone of your voice is in itself a message. Raising your voice may make you appear nervous and deceitful. Lowering your tone, however, will help show that you are honest, caring and self-assured.
Some more NVC or body language things to look out for:
· Folding your arms across your chest shows you to be defiant, arrogant, impatient, defensive and stubborn — and suggests that you aren’t listening.
· Infrequent hand gestures or body movements indicate that you are likely to be dishonest and deceitful.
· Rocking movements indicate that you are nervous and lacking self-confidence.
· Touching your face a lot indicates that you are likely to be dishonest, deceitful and nervous.
· Holding your head in your hand will show that you are bored or uninterested
· Clenched hands will likely indicate that you are angry, hostile, determined to get your way and uncooperative.
When people are upset, their awareness of these non-verbal clues is enhanced, so negative body language like this will be especially noticeable. It is very important that these non-verbal messages are consistent with what you are actually saying. If there is a ‘disconnect’ between the two, the non-verbal messages will take precedence and no amount of talking will get the message across. - Andrew Roberts and Andrew Powell
Photo by Ganessas