Perception is Their Reality

How often have you been in a conversation with someone, and they are non-verbally telling you that they’re not interested in you or what you have to say simply by the messages their body language was sending you? They were looking down at their watch, scoping the room to see if there was someone more important to talk too or they constantly checked their phone for messages. According to research conducted by Dr. Ralph Nichols, we communicate 55% of the time by our body language alone. We are speaking volumes, and we haven’t said a word. As a matter of fact, Dr. Nichols believes we only communicate 7% of the time by the actual words that we say. If you want to improve your ability to communicate more effectively, make sure your verbal and non-verbal messages are congruent. Your body language and what you are saying must be in sync. People believe the non-verbal as being more accurate.

Worth Remembering – “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Alan Greenspan

While verbal and written communication skills are essential, improving your nonverbal skills will ensure others receive your message the way you intended.

The following tips can help you improve your nonverbal communication skills:

  • Pay attention to the nonverbal signals you are sending. Try to mirror their body language. Keep your head up- chest out and make eye contact. When making eye contact, use the 5-second rule. Too much eye contact can be interpreted as seeming confrontational or intimidating. Smile – you want to appear open and receptive. Keep your arms down at your side – not folded across your chest.
  • You communicate 38% of the time by the tone and inflection in your voice. It’s not what you are saying as much as it is how you are saying it. Your style and volume can convey a trove of information ranging from enthusiasm, disinterest or anger. Your voice is an instrument. Vary the cadence and pitch. Don’t talk too fast or too slow. Emphasizing certain words or pausing for effect can be powerful.
  • Ask questions. Asking questions lets the other person know that you are interested in them and what they are saying. Asking questions is an excellent way of ensuring you understand what was said. I listen to understand, not necessarily to agree. I respect your right to express your point of view, but I don’t have to go along with it.

Worth Remembering – “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” Emerson.

We are not born knowing how to be a great communicator – but we can learn to be. Practice your non-verbal skills. Remember – you are not the most important person in the conversation. If they didn’t receive the message the way you intended – then whatever you said means nothing. If they think you are a good listener, then you are. If they think you are a great communicator, then you are. Perception is their reality.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is available for keynote speeches, corporate events and training sessions. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization, visit his website – https://briansmithpld.com

You Can’t Suck and Blow in The Same Breath

You can’t suck and blow in the same breath. You can do one or the other, but you can’t do both at the same time. I have a soft spot for service providers, and those working with the general public., having spent over 30 years as a general manager for a major retailer. Profit and being profitable is not a dirty word. When small businesses go out of business, the whole community suffers. You have a choice. You can pay lower prices for the goods and services you buy , or you can have exceptional customer service, but you can’t have both.

Self-Serve Checkouts

I know a lot of customers are upset with retailers who are installing banks of self-serve checkouts. Some are going so far as to suggest you boycott those stores. I spent over 30 years in retail as a general manager for a major retailer. I understand the challenges they face. Margins continue to be squeezed. Costs continue to go up. Business owners are paying more for the goods they sell, the utilities they use, and the equipment they lease or buy. You have a choice. If you want exceptional customer service, you’ll have to be willing to pay more for the products you buy, but you can’t have low prices and service too. If you put it to a vote, the majority of customers would pick low prices.

ATM Machines

I remember the time, yes I’m that old, when my local bank installed an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) along the side of the building. You had to stand out side – sometimes in inclement weather to use it. Customers had a choice. You can go inside the bank, stand in the line up and wait your turn to get served by the teller or learn to use the machine. Initially, there was a lot of pushback from customers who refused to use the device. If you wanted the bank to hold the line on what they charged for the services they provided, then something had to give. Either they had to charge you more for the services they offered so they could afford to hire more tellers or install more ATM’s, because they couldn’t afford to do both. At least nowadays, you don’t have to go outside to use one. Even better yet. Some banks now have drive-through lanes so you don’t even have to get out of your vehicle to use the ATM.

Fast-Food Outlets

I love the touch screen machines being installed at fast food outlets. You have a choice. You can either embrace the new way of ordering your food and pay for your purchase online or stand in the line up. However, keep in mind that they can only afford one cashier so it may take longer to place and pay for your order. The new frontier, now being introduced by the Taco Bell’s of the fast-food industry is contactless service. They are experimenting with multiple drive-through lanes, some of them dedicated to mobile orders and curbside pickups. Customers can scan their order via a QR code at the digital check-in screen, pay for their order online and then proceed to the pickup area. Handling cash with become a thing of the past.

You can’t suck and blow in the same breath. You can have low prices or pay for exceptional customer service, but you can’t have both.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian specializes in soft skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit his website: https://briansmithpld.com or contact him directly – brian@briansmithpld.com

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

I’m an optimist because there isn’t a good enough reason to be anything else. Pheonix will rise from the ashes, despite what you may be hearing or reading. In the end, what we regret the most are the chances we never took. It’s not all doom and gloom. Dark clouds can have a silver lining. Where there is chaos, there is opportunity. Where there is a gap – there is room for someone to fill it. Timing is everything, and there has never been a better time than now. But don’t wait too long. The window of opportunity will close.

Worth Remembering … “Excuses will always be there for you – but opportunity won’t.” – Unknown

The landscape is littered with going out of business signs. Small, independently-owned businesses have been the hardest hit. Main street has been boarded up. Restaurants that have been in the family for generations are gone. Your local hardware store is closed. Hair salons, clothing and shoe stores have all but disappeared. A sad testament to the turbulent times we find ourselves in. But in spite of it all, the timing to get into business for yourself couldn’t be better. It’s not all doom and gloom. Find the silver lining in those dark clouds. Look for that window of opportunity. But don’t wait too long. The window of opportunity will close.

Worth Remembering … “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.” Ann Rand

The great resignation, a wave of workers leaving their jobs, has left employers scrambling to fill positions from entry-level to senior management. According to a recent survey conducted by Robert Half, a leading recruitment agency, 33% of employed Generation Z and Millennial Professionals polled reported they plan to pursue a new job in the coming year. That’s not a bad thing. The timing to get promoted and take on a leadership role in your organization or change careers couldn’t be better. It’s not all doom and gloom. Will those dark clouds have a sliver lining for you? If you wait too long your window of opportunity will close. – Act now.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization, visit https://briansmithpld.com

To Get Buy-in – You Need to Buy In

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – “Working With Emotional Intelligence” said it best: “A new yardstick is judging us: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other”. Productivity is still the name of the game, and that will never change. Your job as a manager or business leader has always been to minimize the input and maximize the output. Right-sizing has put added pressure on management to hold the line on the expense side of the ledger while still growing the profit side. To accomplish both – managers and leaders must change from being task-focused to being people-focused.

Worth Remembering … “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing – expecting a different result.” – Einstein

You need to decide whether the management style that got you here will be the same style that will get you to where you need to be to stay in business? I’m betting that it won’t because there’s been a dramatic shift in people’s attitudes. Their wants and needs have changed. For the newest generation, Generation Z, whose leading edge is just entering the workforce, life outside of work is just as important, if not more important, to life at work. Today’s managers and business leaders need to change how they lead to keep step with those changes. It’s no longer managing as usual.

Worth Remembering … “One of the most important things about being a good manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you also have to know what’s at the heart of business and that’s people.” – Oprah

Technical skills are essential, but you can get those out of a book. What is needed to be successful managing and leading others today is someone who understands people. Managing and leading others is about them – not about you. They need someone who possesses exceptional soft skills, the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others. Someone who spends time getting to know them for more than just the job that they do. How do they like to be managed? How do they want to receive information? Are they visual learners or do they learn by reading a set of instructions? If you can’t or you’re not willing to change your management style to be more in tune with how they like to be managed, you will have difficulty convincing them to buy in. Different folks = different strokes. To get them to buy-in – you need to buy in.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Find out more about Brian and what he can do for you or your organization by visiting his website. – https://briansmithpld.com