Read between the Lines: Using Nonverbal Communication to Increase Your Influence
Being a successful dental leader requires you to influence people just about all of the time. You need to persuade your patients and your employees to take action based on what you say. Being an effective influencer makes your job easier and your practice more profitable!
Influence is what happens between people; the vehicle for persuasion is communication. People communicate in a variety of patterns. Research shows that verbal communication—the actual words—accounts for approximately 10% of the message. This is the “surface” of communication. Below the words are the “nonverbals,” which science tells us account for nearly 90% of the real meaning in what is communicated.
Humans are sensitive to things like body language, facial expression, posture, movement and tone of voice. We have the ability to communicate many emotions without saying a word. Is there ever any doubt in your mind about the mood of your employees when they walk into the office? Do you have the ability to get children to behave by simply giving them “the eye”?
More than words, nonverbal communication can tell you what’s really on another person’s mind. The old saying, "It's not what you say, it’s how you say it," underscores the importance of nonverbal communication and your credibility. Even on an intuitive level you know this to be true. Consider the idioms we use:
It’s not what you say but what you do.
Given the importance of nonverbal communication, it behooves you to learn to read between the lines to increase your influence on others. To deliver the full intention of your messages, use the following nonverbal behaviors to raise the impact of your communication.
The ability to influence others continues to be the single most important factor for effective leadership. Your practice success is directly related to your ability to win trust and gain respect through communication with your team and your patients. By aligning your verbal and nonverbal communication, you increase your power to influence. Just focus on improving one aspect of your nonverbal communication at a time. With consistent practice, you’ll feel more natural, and you’ll be more successful in leading your team and your patients.
Dr. Haller is available for team building and dental leadership coaching. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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