image of man with critical expression on face and a red banner over his mouth

What you don’t say

Communication, Culture

It’s true, actions speak louder than words…but what about the words we don’t say?

Have you even been in a meeting, a conference, a round table discussion and thought ‘self…you’re just not quite you today….lay low…it’s for the best’.  Being obedient as you are, you decide to listen to yourself and keep things simple.  The problem is that as leaders, we’re rarely the ‘lay low’ type.  We all have our way, and it’s not always loud, but when we’re ‘off’, it makes and impact.

As leaders, our tone, body language and presence make a statement long before words form in our mouths.  It has been said that as little as 7% of our communication is the actual words we speak, so these pieces of the communication puzzle play a big role.  Couple that with personality types in an office, or group and you have endless possible interpretations in every situation.

I’ll keep this short and sweet and tell you this story.

I am part of a discussion group.  Having missed a session I thought “lay low new girl…get the lay of the land…feel this thing out”.  Genuis I am sometimes.  The problem is that I am NEVER that person…like…maybe once in a ‘blue moon’.  My intention to read the group and get a grip on how this group functioned looked very much like I was unwilling to participate, acclimate, and to the facilitator, much like I was uninterested.  Definitely not my intention, and wouldn’t you know it but that it came up in communications later that day. 

I say this all to say – social awareness is HUGE as we lead in our businesses, in our communities, in our homes.  The things we don’t say, the way we act, our facial expression sends out many more messages than our words… and those are the ones we need to be most mindful of.