By Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
All leaders express enthusiasm, warmth, and confidence -- as well as arrogance, indifference, and displeasure through their facial expressions, gestures, touch, and use of space. If you want to be perceived as competent, open and candid, you need to recognize the importance of nonverbal communication.
It is especially crucial for leaders to communicate congruently – that is, to align the spoken word with body language that supports (instead of sabotages) an intended message. When nonverbal messages conflict with your verbal messages, the people you are talking to become confused – and almost always believe what they see and not what you say. Mixed signals have a negative effect on performance and make it almost impossible to build relationships of trust.
For example: When a leader stands in front of a group of employees and talks about how much she welcomes their input, the message gets derailed if she hides behind a lectern, or leans back away from her audience, or puts her hands behind his back or folds her arms across her chest. All of those send closed nonverbal signals – when the intended message is really about openness.
At your next face-to-face meeting with a team member or business colleague, remember to incorporate the following positive nonverbal messages:
Follow these simple suggestions and let your body language be the key to greater leadership success.
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an executive coach, author and keynote speaker who addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Her latest book and program topic is "THE NONVERBAL ADVANTAGE – Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work." For more information, contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email: CGoman@CKG.com, or through her website:www.NonverbalAdvantage.com.
More from Carol Goman:
Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression