Friday, July 30, 2010

Movement to Action: A Nonverbal

We often think about nonverbal communications as only encompassing body language, but that is a very narrow view. In fact, anything that communicates, which sends a message that is not a word, however slight or nuanced, is a “nonverbal” message.

We are bombarded by images (subtle and not so subtle) all day long and they influence how we behave and our perceptions. A politician taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeves sends a message: “I am like you and I will work for you.” That’s why we see those images every election year.

Similarly a Mont Blanc pen or Patek Philippe watch communicate something in their own right about their owners. You can decide whether it is a good thing or not.

A well lit gas station, research shows, encourages you to refill there because it appears more secure. The clean and orderly fa├žade of the local bank attracts you to leave your money in a place worthy of your hard work. In both instances billions of dollars are affected by the “curb side appeal” (nonverbal message) of the business.

One of the things that communicates effectively how we feel about others is what I refer to as “movement to action.” A baby, within days, begins to notice movement in her environment, especially from her mother and caregivers. She responds not just to the movement but also to movement which acts in her behalf such as feeding.

Very quickly the baby learns to differentiate between mere movement and movement to action which satisfies her needs and visibly puts a smile on her face. As we get older our yearning for movement to action increases as we seek a treat or a toy, or any number of things to meet our expectations or gratification.

Movement to action is a nonverbal communication that sends a powerful message, in the same way that a mother running to greet a child with open arms sends a powerful message.

It is a physical act which says I care, and is in the interest of others and seeks to benefit them first and foremost.

When bank managers or account managers, for example, get up and move to greet old and new customers, those customers rate their experiences significantly higher than if they are merely met by someone behind a counter.

In my studies, I found that where clients were greeted by a receptionist who stood to greet them, rather than just sitting behind the desk, this had lasting positive effects in how those clients felt that day and several days later.

It makes sense, we feel special when people move to action on our behalf and it makes us feel appreciated. The renowned Ritz-Carlton hospiatlity leadership training course emphasises taking action as soon as possible.

For more information read the full article here Movement to Action: A Nonverbal

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