Communication “Musts” and Your Personal Brand; Body Language, Tone and Word Selection
Many people think of communicating as talking. However, there is so much more to effective communication using your personal brand.
In order to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues and staff we need to remember some basics. When in doubt, always stop and think back to the basics: your body language, intonation and word selection are crucial to your success as a business owner, executive or professional lawyer/doctor.
First, watch your body language in meetings and events. We never put enough importance on body language, yet roughly 90% of what you communicate to people is done through your body language, via non-verbal communication. So by the time you’ve got all the “perfect” words and sentences, you’ve already made your point- non verbally. The key is to watch your body language and communicate with intention. Are your arms crossed too much? Open up your arms and show people you are open to receiving their communication. Are your hands balled up in fists? Open up your palms to release tension and be open to receiving communication and gesturing. Are you leaning in to the other party, showing that you are listening and actively engaged, or are you sitting back?
Second, watch your intonation. Remember, intonation comes across in all media including emails and telephone conversations. I personally have a love-hate relationship with BlackBerrys for this very reason. Emails sent in a hurry can be not so well thought out and hurtful to your client relationship. When we text and email in a hurry, we leave off valuable punctuation and salutations that can make or break deals and relationships.
Last, watch your word selection. As lawyers and professionals we are taught to word-smith in law school. However, we are never really taught to monitor what comes out of our mouths and account for the impact our words can have on our clients, colleagues and support staff. Our words combined with our body language and intonation are powerful. Have intention behind your actions so that your personal brand is well reflected.