Executive Education

Want to unlock your business voice? Here’s why non-verbal communication is key

By Simon de Cintra
Executive Education
Published: 18 June 2018

As a CEO you certainly have a lot of responsibility on your plate, and with such a busy lifestyle it is very easy to forget how your nonverbal communication may be impacting on your role and the relationships you hold with stakeholders. When communicating in business of course your chosen dialogue is key, however your nonverbal communication, such as your body language, can significantly impact whether you deliver the message you intended to and will determine whether you are successfully unlocking your business voice. Here, Simon de Cintra reveals why as a CEO non-verbal communication is key in the world of business.

Why is your non-verbal communication SO important?
It can be easy to get bogged down and spend a whole lot of time trying to distil the right message to your employees or customers but you must not neglect your non-verbal communication if you want to see results. As soon as you are introduced to someone they will immediately form a first impression of you from your body language, facial expressions, paralinguistics (for example your tone of voice) and your gestures. This explains why managing your non-verbal communication is so crucial to success. Giving off a negative impression can certainly hinder a sale or prevent employees getting on board with a new decision. At the same time, it is important to not be over cautious with your non-verbal communication as trying to act neutral can result in your recipient feeling that you are not interested or bored by what they have to say.

So how can your improve your non-verbal communication?
In order to unlock your business voice and improve on your nonverbal communication there are five steps you can take:

1: Change your posture
As a CEO you need to be respected and your posture plays a big role in achieving this, for instance being slouched over when communicating creates an impression that you are not confident in what you are saying. You need to think about how your posture comes across to your audience, crossing your arms can unintentionally create a feel that you are annoyed and even fiddling with your fingernails will lead many people to assume you are nervous.

2: Maintain eye contact
When communicating you need to hold a steady gaze with the individual involved so they are aware your attention is fully on them. Too little or too much eye contact can easily be perceived as rude. If talking to a group of people it is recommended to make eye contact at one point with all members involved instead of holding the gaze of one individual, this will ensure everyone pays attention to what you need to say.

3: Be adaptable
Your tone of voice must be adapted appropriately for whichever situation you are in, which can range considerably as a CEO. Unfortunately you cannot use the same tone in all situations in business, at times a stern tone of voice may be needed for example when disciplining an employee, other times will require a more relaxed and sensitive tone of voice such as replying to a customer complaint.

4: Do not try to be neutral
As aforementioned you cannot play down your non-verbal communication in order to come across as neutral to your audience, as often when you try to be neutral and give nothing away this actually comes across negatively in practice. At the same time overplaying your non-verbal communication can also come across negatively, therefore you need to find a healthy balance.

5: Experiment first in a safe environment
In order to achieve the healthy balance in non-verbal communication you need to practice and experiment In a safe environment the four points mentioned in this article, before trying to utilise these techniques in your organisation. This will give you the time to perfect how you utilise your non-verbal communication without any repercussions. You could even practice with a family member or friend and see if they feel you are creating the right impression you are aiming for with your body language.

About the author
Simon de Cintra has over 25 years experience in business and provides coaching and mentoring for people who are looking to gain confidence with their public speaking skills or want to learn how to lead and influence others.

In 2006 Simon founded MyFirstTrainers® and has delivered workshops at leading business schools and internationally for major blue chip companies. Simon specialises in personal impact, influencing and persuading stakeholders and public speaking skills for introverts working in complex and highly technical environments.

His varied career inspired him to seek the formula behind authentic communication revealed in his new book Unlock Your Business Voice – How to speak as well as you think (£12.99, Rethink Press). On-sale now from Amazon at £12.99.