The Hidden Message

Nonverbal Communication: The Hidden Message

In “Nonverbal Communication: The Hidden Message,” Bill Acheson examines how professionals deal with each other on a day-to-day basis and the impact that understanding nonverbal communication can have on enhancing their effectiveness. Bill also offers a version of the keynote address “Nonverbal Communication: The Hidden Message” that is tailored specificallyto sales professionals.

Nonverbal communication accounts for two-thirds of the impact you make on other professionals in face-to-face communication. First impressions are critical, and include elements such as:

  • Keeping high levels of eye contact.
  • Never be the first to break eye contact, but when you do, look away rather than down.
  • Avoid "average" vocal patterns. Speak with more volume and a bit faster or with less volume and a bit slower than average.
  • Use a defined, broad pitch range and stress key words for effect.
  • Use vocal pauses strategically to create an impression of confidence.

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In this presentation you will acquire skills to read other people that you’ll put into practice before you leave the room. You’ll also learn how to project yourself more effectively by managing your use of time, space, appearance, posture, gesture, facial expression, eye contact, voice patterns, and touch.

Body Language Expresses a Hidden Message

Body language accounts for more than half of the meaning in any face to face encounter. In the “Nonverbal Communication: The Hidden Message,” we find that nonverbal cues are more revealing, more accurate, and more emotionally powerful than verbal messages. When your body language reinforces your verbal message, it tends to make what you say more powerful. Otherwise, your body language can weaken - or even contradict - what you say.

The channels of nonverbal communication include the ways in which you manage time and space, your appearance, posture, gesture, facial expression, eye contact, touch, voice, silence, and even smell.

In this session you will learn strategies to help you to project personal power and speak with greater accuracy and impact. You will also discover techniques to more accurately assess the attitude and intent of those with whom you conduct business.

Interpreting Nonverbal Communication

For instance, to be accurately interpreted, nonverbal communication should be considered in terms of context, clusters, and congruence.

  • Context refers to the situation in which communication occurs and is crucial to establishing meaning. i.e.: a touch on the forearm could have a number of different meanings. The context in which it occurs provides the framework for understanding its significance.
  • A behavioral cluster is a grouping of nonverbal cues that sends the same message. Power, attentiveness, and deception are examples of identifiable clusters. Reactions such as happiness, confusion, or disgust are response clusters.
  • Congruence refers to the relationship between the verbal and nonverbal components of a message. Communication is congruent if both channels agree. It is incongruent if they send conflicting messages such as when a person shakes his head from side to side and says, "Yes." Nonverbal cues are more accurate than verbal messages - especially regarding attitude and intent.