Resolve to improve non-verbal communication

The start of a new year brings resolutions for many people. In recent years there’s been a bevy of literature about habits: how to set positive habits, break bad ones, increase your willpower. As a communicator, I see the influence that people’s habits have on how they are perceived. In the business world, it’s of particular importance for leaders to understand how their habits may be affecting their efforts.

If actions speak louder than words, then your unconscious behaviours have tremendous impact on either confirming or negating the messages you share with your team and organization. Consider changing up these every day habits to better support the outcomes  you desire:

  • To foster a culture of innovation and creative problem-solving, ditch your friends. Well, at least at meetings or training events when there are other people present. Take advantage of opportunities to spend time with new people and have unique conversations that may lead to creativity. Sit at a different table!
  • If you’re pushing for transparency and a more approachable leadership team, forego the podium when giving presentations.
  • Trying to encourage employees to give and receive feedback more openly? Develop a new feedback habit: ask two people you normally wouldn’t approach for feedback on an idea before going to your usual suspects.
  • When you’re trying to develop a more collegial and connected team, take a look at your daily routines at the office. Could you enter by a different door so that you walk past people you don’t usually greet? Eat lunch in the cafeteria once a week rather than dine at your desk.

Your workplace habits communicate a lot about you and your priorities. Changing some of these simple behaviours can help send the right message to employees. Lead by example and, with time, others will follow suit.


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