Communicating Your Intention
When we’re retained to work with managers in a coaching setting, or as part of our Transformative Management Training Program, one of the most common requests we get is to help the manager improve his or her communication. We’ve coached dozens of managers to gain awareness of their unique way of communicating so that they are able to get results from their team and feel authentic doing so. What we always share with our clients is how their non-verbal communication is impacting – and sometimes confusing – their message.
Did you know that only 7% of interpersonal communication is comprised of the words we use? This means that the majority of what we are communicating - 93% - is happening non-verbally.
But wait there’s more. Of our non-verbal communication 38% is comprised of vocal language (intonation) and 55% is non-verbal language (gesture and physical signals). Combined, these powerful aspects of communication can either uphold or destroy your verbal message.
Understanding this is a game changer for our clients since they may spend time choosing their words but have never considered how to physically represent their thoughts and intentions when speaking with staff members.
In an article on Forbes.com called “The Power of Mindful Nonverbal Communication,” written by Naz Beheshti, the author shares that we can actively use our gestures to convey important emotions to others. The key is to consider our intent.
“Gesture sometimes anticipates and even shapes emotion and thought. We can choose to begin there and work outside-in. With practice, we can learn to be more conscious of certain gestures and nonverbal cues and, therefore, their effect on others and ourselves.”
This is a big idea: think about your intention and then represent it non-verbally. For example, if your intention is to project “confidence” in your next meeting, think about how to non-verbally represent this intent before you attend. If you’re mindful about projecting confidence, you may sit up straight, look others in the eye and speak up during the meeting. This will certainly make an impression on those around you and it will also resonate internally too. Remember, your words are important but they will be minor in comparison to your non-verbal language. Once your words and expression are in alignment you will be more powerful – and effective – then you ever thought possible.