Did you know that 80-93% of what people take away from a conversation comes from nonverbal (body language and tone of voice) communication while only 7% of the message results from the actual words? Here’s an interesting article from Psychology Today that tells more about the research that shows it.
While the interpretation raises additional points about context and situation, the article makes it very clear that strategy and words, which most of us focus on in how we present ourselves in business, are not the only things worth paying attention to.
The key to being memorable and effective in nonverbal communication is Presence. The way we carry ourselves, how present we are to the people we’re talking to, and the sense of confidence and authenticity people pick up on from our body language is as important as if not a whole lot more so than focusing on the words and strategy.
Here are 3 Easy Practices you can start to use now for a major boost in your presence, body language, and tone of voice:
- Fully inhabit every cell of your body, particularly your lower half. For newbies with me, this is going to sound a little out there, but stay with me here. I promise you, mastering the “muscle memory” of this will give you much more bang for your buck than trying to work in specific types of gestures for particular effect or other techniques that have the potential to feel pretty inauthentic. This is the key to managing self-consciousness and exuding a much stronger, comfortable-in-your-skin, confident presence. Need to see it? Watch this short video and guided practice on how to do it.
- Get your blood pumping. Before a key interaction, get your body moving! Not only does this help you be more “in your body”, when your vitality is stimulated with movement and your heart is pumping, you are naturally more enthusiastic and engaging. Try to find a spot where you can swing your arms, wiggle your hips, and shake your stuff before calmly walking into a room.
- Warm up your voice and sing. Sing some scales (do-re- mi…) or sing along to the radio on the drive over. I recently found my voice being creaky at lower tones in the morning and my tone would get higher than usual at the end of the sentence (like a question). Singing a couple of lower scales gave me more access to that range and I sounded a lot more confident. When you do a vocal warm up, try to focus on both range (low, middle and high notes) and clarity (no creaks at any range). Feel your voice starting in your lower belly and flowing up and out through your mouth with minimal tension or tightness (yep, this comes back to being in your body).
I hope these three easy practices are useful and you find ways to put them in action in your professional and personal conversations. I’m leading a workshop that takes you step-by-step through the practices I’ve found to be total game-changers for me and for my clients in speaking.
It’s experiential – not a bunch of concepts and theory, and it’s a fun and supportive environment that delivers dramatic shifts in a single day. Our Early Bird discount ends soon, so if you’re even considering the option, take a look today and grab your spot if it’s a yes.
Make it a great week!