Your body language speaks for you
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
It doesn’t matter what you say… what matters is what your body does when you say it
I’m Maddie and I work as a Marketing Manager at Creative Return. I’m a young millennial navigating this world of finance and investor marketing. I hope my blogs can help others who are just getting started in their journey through the world of investor relations and digital investor marketing.
Throughout my life I’ve been told to stop frowning because it makes me look angry or sad… my answer always is well that’s just my face.
Our body language and facial expressions have more impact than we might think. I listened to Mark Bowden’s episode of the Insider’s Guide to Finance about the power of non-verbal communication.
Mark is an internationally acclaimed body language and communications expert. He has coached major companies all around the world including Shopify, Dell, Viacom, RBC, Amex, Microsoft, Toyota, and Samsung to name a few.
In addition to keynote speaking, he also provides group training seminars to sales teams.
Non-verbal communication, imagery, and movement that you put around what you say have a massive effect on what people perceive has been said!
The images you can create convert very directly in the action that you want people to take.
Mark has worked in theatre, visual arts, TV, advertising, and more. He ended up in business organizations and is now helping them tell their stories.
Is non-verbal communication really that impactful?
In short, yes it is!
“When we’re watching another human being, the majority of the information our mind wants in order to judge their feeling and intention is visual,” Mark said.
Some of the other information is gathered from tone of voice but only a small percentage is the actual words that are spoken.
“In order to get a sense of what you really mean, we’re not listening to the words, we’re watching you and hearing the noises you’re making. Then we’re putting them together with the words.”
We have a bias towards the imagery and sounds instead of the words coming out of someone’s mouth. When it comes down to it, it’s not what you say but it’s how you say it.
What happens when you’re investor pitch is polished, but your gestures are incongruent?
Not only do you need to practice your words but your gestures need just as much practice. People sweat over their powerpoints and pitch but they don’t think of what their body will do and say.
“They haven’t become practitioners of how to use their behaviour to influence and persuade. The words could be very good but people hearing the pitch are judging it by the behaviour around the words,” Mark said.
Mark has worked with many CEO and CFOs of public companies where they work on how to walk into shareholder meetings and the images they get across.
Relying on numbers alone does not provide a sense of trust or certainty. The context the numbers are delivered in can change everything!
“Some shareholders don’t understand the value of numbers and they look at the leadership and ask if they trust the numbers. Sometimes the leadership team performs in a way that creates incredibility,” he said.
In order for them to trust the numbers, they need to trust the person who is giving that information out. Behaviours can change that sense of uncertainty.
What are some characteristics of great communicators?
Mark said one of the keys is to keep it simple. Make your choice and keep it tidy.
“Choose three things you want to get across and the one thing you really want them to do,” he said. “Great communicators take their message and make a decision about what they want to get across then the whole communication has clarity.”
Without clarity there is no understanding. A leader cannot be a leader without being followable. People should look at their message, be honest with themselves, and ask if there is clarity.
Part of non-verbal communication is the rate you speak.
“Imagine the strength of words when they have so much space around them. Every word counts,” Mark shared.
What about the science behind communication?
There are many pieces of great science that help us understand what the best techniques are and why they happen.
Mark went on to explain why some people might be attracted to a certain message over another.
“We make our own dopamine and there are things in the environment that trigger that dopamine,” he said. “It triggers the feeling that things are going to be good.”
If you’re trying to attract people to your organization, you need to give them the feeling that it will be good for them.
“If we walk into an environment where we feel like we are going to have a command of a resource that is valuable, that will trigger our dopamine levels.”
What action can presenters put into practice and change?
“If your audience feels a sense of certainty they’re going to lean into the message. A more predictable environment for humans is more advantageous,” Mark said.
No human brain wants to be in an unpredictable environment. In order to communicate non-verbally with your audience and create that sense of certainty, be symmetrical with your gestures. Make one side of your body do the exact same thing as the other side.
Asymmetrical gestures can create feelings of anxiety. Comfort and symmetrical gestures go hand-in-hand.
For example, open palm symmetrical gestures trigger the idea of trust and credibility.
We all have the power of great communication not only with our words but with our bodies as well.
Non-verbal communication has an effect on how people perceive the things you are saying.
Without clarity there is no understanding. Leaders aren’t leaders if they aren’t followable.
If you want to attract people to your business, you need to provide them with an environment that will trigger dopamine. They’ll associate your business with that feeling!
Check out Mark’s full episode below to find out more about non-verbal communication.