What does your non-verbal communication say about you?

I can’t express enough that it’s more than what you say, it is how you say it. It is in your tone, in your conviction within the message you are sending, and most importantly, in what the receiver of the message sees, your non-verbal message, your body language.

Dealing with people on a daily basis, and no shortage of people walking in and out of my office, I place reading non-verbal cues as the main focus of all conversations. Also through experience, it has become apparent that an individual’s non-verbal communication will determine the weight placed on what is being said. Non-verbal communication, body language, plays a huge role in conversation outcomes. Wordless signals hold just as much, sometimes more, weight and power than verbal messages.

What does this mean… in a nutshell?

The way you look, listen, move, and react tells the other person whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, rapport, and clarity. When they don’t, they generate mistrust, tension, and confusion.

Right now what is important is that you acknowledge not only the importance of your verbal cues, but your non-verbal cues as well. Every interaction requires preparation. When preparing, keep in mind, there are two messages being sent at all times, verbal and non-verbal. Be sure to lay out a plan for both.

The infographic below presented by American Express Open Forum lists 6 body language mistakes to avoid. Self-awareness is key. If any of the mistakes listed are habits you have picked up, take note and make appropriate corrections. Your body language could be the reason you are turned down for a promotion, even a raise.

Click on the infographic to view full size.

BodyLanguage

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Workplace Minute – Written Communication

MINUTEEffective written communication is important whether your job involves extensive writing or simple email correspondence:

• Organize the message.
• Emphasize important points.
• Write what you mean.
• Use simple language.
• Keep a professional tone.
• Edit and revise.
• Use easy-to-read formats.
• Ask co-workers to proofread.

Workplace Minute – Communication

MINUTEYou will be more effective if you are able to communicate clearly with others.

Here are some quick tips on how to communicate effectively:

• Pronounce words clearly.
• Use a pleasant voice.
• Speak at a steady pace.
• Engage the listener.
• Adjust your volume.
• Show appropriate enthusiasm with tone and pitch.
• Use proper grammar.
• Be brief.
• Match body language to comments and discussions.

Communication Styles: Self-Assessment

The way you communicate has a significant impact on how you get on with people and get the things you want. Good communication skills can help avoid conflict and solve problems. They’re also important for making friends and having healthy relationships, which is why it is extremely important to acknowledge that everyone you speak to communicates differently.

I recently conducted a training and spent some time discussing communication styles and was intrigued by how engaged the participants were when we were discussing the topic. Often times we assume, in business and personal, that it doesn’t matter how you convey a message it should be understood in the way you deliver it. This is not always the case.

I provided a self-assessment exercise to the participants to determine their personal communication style. This is a great tool for everyone to use to build the foundation for improving their communication, an essential competency for professional and personal development, as communication is a transferable skill.

This assessment it is broken down into four (4) communication styles:

The Four Communication Styles:

Style 1: WHAT Style 2: HOW
ACTION (A)

Results
Objectives
Achieving
Doing

PROCESS (PR)

Strategies
Organization
Facts

Style 4: WHY Style 3: WHO
IDEA (I)

Concepts
Theories
Innovation

PEOPLE (PE)

Communication
Relationships
Teamwork

 

The purpose of this self-assessment is to help you to identify your communication style. Being aware of your own communication style can help you understand how your communication is perceived by others. By knowing your communication style and understanding the types of communication styles of people with whom you are working with, you can adjust the way you communicate to maximize the communication process.

To determine your communication style, take the Communication Styles: A Self-Assessment Exercise.

The instructions for the assessment is to select from each pair of attributes the one which is most typical of your personality. No pair is an either-or proposal. Make your choice as spontaneously as possible. It is important to know there is NO wrong answer. You shouldn’t have to think about the answer, rather, the selection should come to you automatically.

After you complete the assessment you can move on to the Scoring Sheet for the Communication Styles Assessment. To score the assessment you are to circle the items you have selected (the question number) and add up the totals for each style (one point per answer). Your total for the four styles should be forty (40). The style you score the highest will be your communication style. There have been cases where there has been a tie between two styles, that is okay. Read through the styles to determine which is a bit more like you, though, you are likely to have attributes from both styles.

After you score the assessment and pin-point your particular communication style, you can move on to the chart to review The Main Characteristics of Communication Styles. The main characteristics are broken down by

1) Style
2) Content – people with this style talk about… and
3) Process – people with this style are…

This will provide more detail to your determined communication style.

And finally, the most important resource in the assessment is the Adjusting to Other Communication Styles guide. This guide will provide you the tools to communicate with other types of communication styles.

My communication style is ACTION, therefore, what I would do is consider the characteristics of an individual that I am trying to communicate with. I would determine under which style those characteristics fall, then I would use the tips under that characteristic type to communicate with the individual. The tips on “Adjusting to Other Communication Styles” clearly reflects the differences on how to communicate depending on the style.

You can find the assessment by clicking the below link:

Communication Styles: A Self-Assessment Exercise

If you have any questions regarding the assessment (instructions, scoring, etc.), you can select the “CONNECT” link above to send a direct email with your question and I will assist you.

Professionalism in the Workplace

How many of you have heard the quote, “Perception is reality.” There is a constant battle on the concept of this quote, however, perception is equated with reality for most practical purposes and guides human behavior in general.

How you carry yourself in an interview and in the workplace often defines to others (whether fact or not, solely based on perception), the type of worker you are or will be. It’s in how you communicate, your appearance, and your overall work ethic, that helps define your total package.

The below infographic “Professionalism in the Workplace” provides the results of a survey on Professionalism conducted by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania. Contributing to the survey was a sample HR professionals, undergraduates, and workplace managers

Take a look at the below infographic and see what characteristics you can brush up on to give the right impression!

Professionalism

What is Emotional Intelligence and why is it important?

Did you know that for most people, emotional intelligence is more important than one’s intelligence in attaining success in not only their lives but careers as well? As individuals a lot of our success depends on our ability to read other people’s signals and react appropriately to them.

Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.
– Howard Gardner, Harvard theorist

What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)? Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, leading researchers on EI, defined emotional intelligence as the “ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional meanings, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote both better emotion and thought.”

If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.
– Dr. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D, Psychologist

Breaking down Emotional Intelligence. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence and proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence.

  1. Perceiving Emotions:  The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them.
  2. Reasoning with Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity.
  3. Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean.
  4. Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence.

Travis Bradberry, in his Forbes article titled “Emotional Intelligence – EQ” uses the below graphic by TalentSmart to explain that emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

aboutei-4box

As described by Travis Bradberry, personal competence is made up of your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior. Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.

For a more thorough and interesting overview of Emotional Intelligence, check out Travis Bradberry published Forbes article by clicking here.

Want to see more-or-less how emotionally intelligent you are? Take a short quiz provided by psychology.about.com to find out! Emotional Intelligence Quiz

Lastly, the “Emotional ID and You” infographic provided by eleraninginfographics.com created by the University of Maryland dives deeper into what emotional intelligence entails as well as why it’s important in the workplace.

The-importance-of-Emotional-Intelligence-infographic

Reference: Meyer, J.D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is Emotional Intelligence? In P. Salovey & D.J. Slyter (Eds.) Emotional Development and Emotional Intellgence. New York: Basic Books.

What “Million Dollar Listing NY” can teach you about professional development…

One of my favorite shows on TV is Million Dollar Listing NY. Some may see this show simply as reality hogwash. Just a bunch of realtors, with the egos the size of a mammoth competing against each other for listings, however, from a personal development and professional development standpoint, one can learn invaluable lessons from this show.

For those readers that do not know what the Million Dollar Listing franchise is, it is a series that chronicles the professional and personal lives of real estate agents in NY and LA. It also gives viewers an inside look at the world of high-priced real estate in NY and LA.

million-dollar-listing-new-york-season-3-hero-premiere-party

In Million Dollar Listing NY, they follow three real estate agents, (left to right) Fredrik Eklund, Luis D. Ortiz and Ryan Serhant.

Fredrik Eklund (37) has closed over two billion dollars in residential real estate over the last 11 years. He works for Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate brokerage on the East Coast, alongside his business Partner John Gomes, together they run The Eklund Gomes Team at Douglas Elliman. Eklund is also the Founder of the most high-end residential real estate brokerage in Scandinavia, Eklund Stockholm New York with three offices and 50 employees.

Ryan Serhant (30) in less than 5 years has sold nearly one billion dollars in real estate. He works for NestSeekers International. Serhant’s motto “Expansion. Always, in all ways.” is fitting in that his real estate team has grown to include eight seasoned agents, allowing him to service clients all over the world. Ryan leads a team in NY and is currently expanding with a team in Los Angeles.

Luis D. Ortiz (27), the youngest of the bunch, has seven years experience in real estate. Luis has sold more than $100 million in residential real estate over the past three years. In August of 2013, Ortiz joined forces with Douglas Elliman and founded his own real estate Team – Ortiz & Co.

Now to why I find this show so fascinating…

With every sell, with every showing, even when these gentleman are simply walking down the street (or riding their bike) they walk with an air of confidence. They are an example of a walking brand. They are not just real estate agents in New York City, they are Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant, Luis Ortiz. They don’t need your business, but you want their business! You want to create a brand that sells itself. These gentleman have created a pristine brand reflective of their passion, charisma, drive, integrity and hard work.

You may not be at the Eklund, Serhant, Ortiz level but as a professional you should always be considering YOUR professional brand. There really isn’t much of a difference between your personal and professional brand but for the sake of keeping this professional let’s focus on what matters to a potential employer, networking contact, or anyone who can help you find a job or grow your career. In today’s world we have two brand representations, our walking brand being how we carry ourselves and handle our business daily as well as our online presence. (Yep… that online presence thing again…) When a colleague, potential employer, or a networking friend researches you online, your professional brand is the culmination of information easily attained.

Next is passion… passion… PASSION! These three love what they do and it shows in their interaction with their clients and colleagues. Passion SELLS! You want to get the person you are interacting with as excited and as passionate with your vision as you are. Passion is one of the core sales competencies. Have you ever tried selling a product you don’t like, or maybe a product you don’t have complete faith in? Do you realize in interviews, in relationships, in networking, you are selling yourself? Now is a good time to ask yourself, do you know what it is you are trying to sell? What does your walking brand and online presence represent? Does it match your vision? Confidence comes into play here as well. Passion and confidence go hand-in-hand when selling your product. Not only do you have to be exciting but you have to be believable. You have to believe in yourself and the product to effectively convey your message to the receiver.

In Season 3, Luis has to take under his wing a client’s son, Todd,  to help sell the family home. Todd had very little, if NO, real estate experience. To get the sale, and for the sake of reality show entertainment, Luis agreed to work with Todd on the listing. Rather than seeing it as an inconvenience, Luis approached it as an opportunity. He wanted to help Todd work towards his goal of becoming a good real estate agent.

In the episode, Luis takes Todd for a run around Central Park. This run was not for the sake of fitness, rather it was a run to teach a lesson. The lesson: do not take rejection personally. Luis had Todd run around and stop random people to give them his, what I call the 30 Second Elevator Pitch. Some people looked at him like he was insane, others ran faster and away from him and there was even a few that actually stopped and listened graciously. Luis’ goal was to get Todd out of his comfort zone. He wanted Todd to understand that it is okay to be rejected, it is not personal. One situation drops, you pick up and move on to the next. In life you have to keep it moving. In the real estate game, rejection is not personal, and it’s quite the norm.

Like every reality show, the formula is to throw in the drama and this show has no shortage of drama. If you look past that and observe the work ethic each of these gentleman have you can see a formula for success. It’s all about perspective. When I watch this show I focus on the formula, the drama just adds some extra fun to the tale. One cannot deny the success of these 3 men, take a look at their online presence if there is any doubt. You can learn a lot about them just from that!