Friday, June 4, 2010

BODY lingo

  1. Gestures/Hand signals Definition: Gesture, a form of non-verbal communication from wikipedia.com Most people use gestures {HYPERLINK "/wiki/Body_language"}in addition to words when they speak; some ethnic groups and languages use them more than others do, and the amount of such gesturing that is considered acceptable varies from one location to the next. Gestures include pointing, (one of the few universally understood gestures) as well as using the hands and body to keep time with the rhythms of speech and to emphasise certain words or phrases. Hand movements Scientists observe that there are more nerves between the brain and hands than any other portion of the body. Therefore movements of the hands, fingers and arms are directly related to what is going on in the mind and can reveal a lot. Having a firm grip, but with a relaxed manner (ie not fidgeting) indicates calmness, confidence and self assurance. Handshakes are an important initial interaction and help in forming impressions. Hiding hands and placing them behind ones back may show withdrawal, or not being entirely open. Is this girl bored and fed up? Is she keeping her distance, or hiding something behind her back? A closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward is a gesture of approval or disapproval respectively. "My boss gave my proposal the thumbs-up" means that the boss approved the proposal. BUT 'Thumbs up' translates as the foulest of Iraqi insults—the most straightforward interpretation is 'Up yours, pal!' The sign has a similarly meaning in other parts of the Middle East, West Africa, Russia, Australia, Greece, and Sardinia. Use with care. A clenched fist usually indicates angry and frustrated emotions but can also be used to signify success when the arm is thrust upwards with a clenched fist. Touching your face can indicate tense and nervous behaviour, or indicate confusion or embarrassment. Finger raised slightly “I wish to say something” Finger raised (by person in authority) A warning is being given to pay attention to what is being said If pointed directly can mean anger and a desire to dominate the situation, but could be merely drawing someone's attention to something. Sometimes used as a playful gesture meaning “Got you!” Eye Contact "Windows to the soul...." Eye contact with the other side is an essential part of Communication. Without it the other party will feel remote from you and are unlikely to relate to you in a meaningful way. It is important to be aware of how sensitive people are to it. Eye contact should be a positive form of body language communication, but if it is not used correctly it can easily become negative. Effect of Positive Eye Contact Effect of Negative Eye Contact Interested and attentive Friendly and approachable Honest and straightforward Disinterested and remote Arrogant and proud Shifty and Untrustworthy Maintaining eye contact without staring (considered very rude) demonstrates sincere interest in the other person. Cultural differences must be considered in determining proper eye contact. Eye contact is crucial to establishing a connection and a sense of trust between the individuals involved, and regular, friendly eye contact actively shows the other person that you are interested in him and what he has to say. Gazing and Staring We often tend to judge people by the amount of eye contact we have with them. Research by Kleinke and his colleagues (1974) has shown that • we are more likely to look more at people we like, and consequently when the level of eye contact is high, we interpret this positively • that people interpret low levels of gazing as inattentiveness • high gazing as sincerity • But if we look too long (stare) at someone, it is usually interpreted negatively An interesting study by Greenbaum and Rosenfeld (1978) found that when a person stared at drivers stopped at red lights, the drivers drove off more quickly when the light changed. Thus, although we enjoy eye contact, we try to evade people who stare at us and make us feel uncomfortable Eye-rolling This is when a person moves his or her pupils to the top of their eyes to indicate that someone is wasting your valuable time" or as a sign of frustration. Body Posture Posture is important, particularly when taken in combination with other body language. Consider the following 2 scenarios: Would you feel confident about what this man is saying? Slouching forward can indicate someone who is saying something without conviction. His posture shows that he is not on top form just now. He also appears to be lacking interest in the conversation. The upright posture demonstrates adult, assertive behaviour with no hidden meaning in the communication. This posture indicates that the person has conviction and confidence in what they are saying. Postures that signal defensive attitudes and rejection include : folded arms, crossed legs body turned away from speaker Mirroring In any communication there is a natural tendency to mirror the body position of the person you are talking to, and this tends to result in a more relaxed and agreeable atmosphere. Oral and electronic communications Electronic Communications Cell phones and e-mail may have become common forms of communication in the 21st century, but centuries of evolution have made face-to-face communication man's preferred method, says Dr. Ned Kock, director of the E-Collaboration Research Center in Temple University's Fox School of Business and Management. He argues that all other forms of communication require more thought and effort. Method Type Benefits Costs Telephones Oral Direct Personal contact 2 way communications (real time) Uses Tone of voice Instant feedback No written records exists of what has (or has not) been discussed Difficult to convey lots of detailed information Voice mail and messaging Oral /written Voice mail can be picked up from remote locations when convenient. Message gives record Difficult to quickly gather thoughts to compose voice message. Text messages too brief eMail Written Can send out in an instant Will be received at recipient's convenience Ability to attach files Privacy and confidentiality safeguarded Requires thought to compose (takes longer) Needs care with tone of written word Volume of email and time taken to deal with them Fax Written/pictorial Wide user base Easy to operate Multiple postings Expensive to operate and equipment costs are high Using the Telephone Many people find it easier to use the telephone than write. In business and commercial concerns it is quick and easy but it is not always used effectively. It is more difficult to establish rapport on the telephone so it is important that anyone dealing with customers cultivates a good telephone manner. There are four stages to making a telephone call • preparation • introductions • the message • the Action Preparation • mentally prepare what you want to say • have the relevant paperwork to hand • have a pad available for making notes (scraps of paper get lost) 1. Introductions - The Verbal Handshake • introduce yourself • establish whether it is convenient to speak 1. The Message • use open questions to develop the dialogue • use closed questions to establish facts • demonstrate active listening - “yes”, “mmm”, “fine”, “really”, “right” • summarise, paraphrase to check understanding • get feedback 1. Action • offer help • volunteer information • outline the action you are going to take People are put at ease by "mirroring" and you should try to do this - but in a subtle way or they may feel you are parodying their body language. Activity Next time your speaking in a group, try to notice who among your listeners is sitting or standing in the same position as you are. Then try changing your position (i.e. crossing your leg, folding / unfolding your arms...) Those who match your body positioning, are silently signaling their approval or agreement. Stronger feelings of agreement/approval include nods and pursing of lips. Personal Space When people talk to each other they tend to stand a distance apart from each other. People have an invisible boundary around themselves If someone comes too close, they will feel uncomfortable and move away, unless the person is family or trusted friend. Surprisingly,this sense of boundary is cultural, and the average personal distance varies. Americans tend to require more personal space than in other cultures. So if you try to get too close to an American during your conversation, he or she will feel that you are "in their face" and will try to back away. Also, try to avoid physical contact, since this may also lead to discomfort. Touching is a bit too intimate for casual acquaintances. Don't put your arm around their shoulder, touch their face, or hold their hand. Shaking hands when you initially meet or part is acceptable, as this is only momentary. Establishing and maintaining relationships with customers Effective Communication Skills Effective Communications are the essence of good Customer Relations Communication is essential and needs to be continuously successful. It must be successful in respect of both internal and external customers. Communication is the cornerstone of quality. Objectives of Communicating with Customers • communicating to ask for ideas or offer suggestions • communicating to show you are listening and that you understand • communicating to maintain or improve the customer’s self-esteem Why do we communicate? 1) To be received 2) To be understood 3) To be accepted 4) To get action Click here to check out the Communication Process • Oral and electronic communications • Questions • Non Verbal Communication • Listening Establishing and maintaining relationships with customers Effective Communication Skills Questions Questions are used to gather information. They can take both oral and written forms. Generally speaking we tend to ask questions badly and we inhibit the amount of information we could have gained. What makes a good question? One that "asks" for the right information and that is understood. Types of Questions Open questions Used to gather information “How may I help you?” “Which colours suit you best?” Open questions allow the customer to develop their own answer and open up the discussion and build a dialogue. Closed questions Encourage a Yes/No or one word answer. “Have you got a single room?” or “What fuel system do you use?” Used to establish single facts only. Get necessary answers quickly. Multiple questions A string of several questions at once. “Are you looking for a specific make? This is a nice colour don’t you think? Or we could order one of those other ones if you prefer? Would you like this one or would you be prepared to wait until the new stock comes in?” Should be avoided - response is either to the last or the easiest question, and its irritating! Leading questions “Oh! I see you’ve come back again, you must have liked the way we dealt with you the last time then?” Probing questions Closing questions which seek specific information in a fact finding situation. “What is your date of birth? “How long have you lived there?” Reflective questions Used in situations when the customer is upset or unclear. “You seem to feel upset about ....?” “If I understand you correctly you....?” Hypo-thetical questions “What would you do if you won the lottery?” Comparison “Which of these cakes do you prefer?” Offers the customer a choice and helps them make up their mind. Silence A short pause (up to 5 seconds) is a courtesy as it allows the customer to collect their thoughts. A longer pause (say 5-20 seconds) will encourage a customer to share information they may want to keep to themselves. A really long pause (over 20 seconds) can be used to pressurise a customer eg to disclose confidential information, or to obtain confessions or concessions. Establishing and maintaining relationships with customers Effective Communication Skills Listening Stephen Covey wrote "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" That's correct, studies have estimated that only 15% of listening is effective. What are the skills involved with Effective Listening? You probably spend a lot of your time using your listening skills, so why aren't you better at it? Because, like other skills, listening takes practice and through practice can be improved. What does it mean to really listen? Real listening is an active process that has 3 basic steps. Hearing Hearing just means listening enough to catch what the speaker is saying. For example, say you were listening to a colleague talking about a delayed delivery, if you can repeat the fact “the delivery has been delayed”, then you have heard what has been said. Understanding The next part of listening happens when you take what you have heard and understand it in your own way. To take the previous example, you hear about the delayed delivery and think what this may mean – will your customers be unhappy because goods they were waiting for are unavailable? Judging After you are sure you understand what the speaker has said, think about whether it makes sense. How does my colleague know? Do I need to check? Listening Out Loud - giving feedback A good listener is not just a silent receptacle, passively receiving the thoughts and feelings of others. To be an effective listener, you must respond with verbal and nonverbal cues which let the speaker know -- actually prove -- that you are listening and understanding. These responses are called feedback. Verbal feedback works best when delivered in the form of brief statements, rather than questions. (Your questions usually get answered if you wait.) Statements allow you to paraphrase and reflect what you've heard, which affirms the speaker's success at communicating and encourages the speaker to elaborate further or delve more deeply into the topic. Meaningful exchanges are built on feedback. Empathy In order to accurately feed back a person's thoughts and feelings, you have to be consciously, actively engaged in the process of listening. Hearing a statement, you create a mental model, vicariously experiencing what the speaker is describing, feeling the speaker's feelings - this process is called empathy. When you actively convey your sense of the other's feelings and issues - you are demonstrating empathy. The need to show empathy increases when a person is feeling negative emotions. Consider the following: • Empathy has nothing to do with giving in • One can be empathic and yet disagree with another person • One can be empathic and confirm you understand what another person is saying, but have an entirely different view of the situation How to Listen Well Give your full attention to the person who is speaking. Don't look out the window or at what else is going on in the room. Concentrate on what is being said... It can be easy to let your mind wander if you think you know what the person is going to say - but you may be wrong Don’t interrupt Let the speaker finish before you begin to talk. Speakers like to complete what they have to say. When you interrupt, it looks like you aren't listening, even if you really are. Really listen – don’t just wait for your turn to speak! Listen for main ideas The main ideas are the most important points the speaker wants to get across. They may be mentioned at the start or end of a talk, and repeated a number of times. Pay special attention to statements that begin with phrases such as "My point is..." or "The thing to remember is..." Ask questions. If you are not sure you understand what the speaker has said, just ask. It is a good idea to repeat in your own words what the speaker said in the form of a question, so that you can be sure your understanding is correct. “So you would like me to…..?” Give feedback Sit up straight and look directly at the speaker. Now and then, nod to show that you understand. At appropriate points you may also smile, frown, laugh, or be silent. Thinking fast Remember: time is on your side! Thoughts move about four times as fast as speech • Barriers to Listening Establishing and maintaining relationships with customers Effective Communication Skills Listening Barriers to Listening "A number of people are sharing a car on the way to a business seminar. It's a two hour drive. The noise inside the car is like an orchestra tuning up. Several people are talking at once -- each with an idea to express concerning the issue under discussion. When any one person is determined to make a point, he/she gets louder, defeating other peoples’ ideas with decibel power." These people are not communicating because they are not LISTENING. Barriers to Listening Listening takes time or, more accurately, you have to take time to listen. A life filled with back-to-back commitments offers little leeway for listening. Similarly, a mind constantly buzzing with plans, dreams, schemes and anxieties is difficult to clear. Good listening requires the temporary suspension of all unrelated thoughts -- a blank canvas. In order to become an effective listener, you have to learn to manage what goes on in your own mind. Technology, for all its glorious gifts, has erected new barriers to listening. Face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations (priceless listening opportunities) are being replaced by email and the sterile anonymity of electronic meeting rooms. Other barriers to listening include: 1. worry, fear, anger, grief and depression 2. individual bias and prejudice 3. semantics and language differences 4. noise and verbal "clutter" 5. preoccupation, boredom and shrinking attention spans Read the following, and try to think of an example of when you have observed the behaviour described, and consider how it made you feel.... Pseudo Listening Pretending to listen - may be listening to another conversation in the room, or thinking about something else Scoring Points Relating everything we hear to our own experience - “Oh! that’s nothing. Wait till you hear what happened to me last week” Mind Reading Predicting what the other person is really thinking. Saying to ourselves - “I bet that’s not the real reason she came here” Rehearsing Practising what we are going to say next - preparing a clever or witty response and missing what is being said Cherry Picking Listening for a key piece of information then switching off. Hearing only what you want to hear. Filling Gaps Throwing in a word here and there when there is a natural pause Labelling Putting people into a category before hearing all the evidence - “a typical salesman” - or not listening to someone you think is a rambler Duelling Intervening here and there with defensive remark - “Well at least we deliver goods on time” - “You won’t find us overcharging” Side Stepping Sentiment Responding to expressions of emotion with clich├ęs or jocular remarks - “It’s not the end of the world is it?” - “Cheer up - tomorrow’s another day”

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