Below CEO Today hears from Simon de Cintra, author of Unlock Your Business Voice – How to speak as well as you think, and Founder of MyFirstTrainers, on the top 5 ways to improve one’s non-verbal communication.
How we deliver a message and carry ourselves in conversations is in fact just as important as the content we deliver and as a CEO it is very important for your organisation that you set an example to your workforce and master the art of nonverbal communication. In this article, presentation coach and author of Unlock Your Business Voice (£12.99, Rethink Press), Simon de Cintra, provides his top five tips on how to improve your nonverbal communication as a CEO.
Pay Attention To Your Posture
How you hold yourself as a CEO is very important in order for you to be respected in your organisation, if your posture shows any evidence of weakness or nervousness people will pick up on that and often their respect for you may be impacted. You cannot afford to lose such respect in order to carry out your duties as a CEO. It is recommended you utilise an open posture that is approachable to your workforce or relevant stakeholders, thus you should certainly avoid crossing your arms or turning away from a person you are communicating with. If your workforce feel unable to approach you due to your bad posture choices, business problems may go unreported, leaving you out of the loop and unable to react to the problem, which can be detrimental for a business.
Don’t be afraid to take risks
Trying to be too safe with your nonverbal communication in order to be perceived as neutral can be a big mistake. From my experience with clients and conducting communication workshops, when individuals try to hide all their emotions in their body language it tends to come across negatively. Common impressions this tactic made on the recipient include that the person came across as preoccupied, bored, disinterested or in a hurry. These are obviously impressions you would like to avoid which is why you should not be afraid to take risks, within reason, with your nonverbal communication.
Be flexible with your tone
Your business voice is heavily influenced by your tone thus you must be flexible and learn the ability to change your tone to the situation you are addressing. In business as a CEO you will be involved with a plethora of business operations that will all require a different tone, meetings with the bank for example will require a much more formal tone than a quick chat with a colleague.
Hold Your Eye Contact
Holding your eye contact is important to ensure your recipient feels listened too, however this needs to be balanced effectively as staring too intensely can come across as uncomfortable for the parties involved in the discussion, whereas not engaging in enough eye contact can create a feeling that you are disinterested. Furthermore, when communicating with a larger group it is crucial you engage eye contact with each member involved and do not stick with staring at one person. This will help make sure everyone feels engaged with and will stop the audience from becoming distracted by what is going on around them that is not relevant to the message being delivered, which can often happen in a busy office environment.
Practice Makes Perfect
You’ve probably heard the maxim about regretting what we do not try rather than what we do. I subscribe to this belief, and would add that we are much more likely to push our boundaries if we have invested some time on self-research and rehearsal in a safe environment. This is why as a final tip I advise you to practice the tips above in a safe environment so you can improve your nonverbal communication at your own pace without the pressures of the working environment.