The Case For Nonverbal Communication In Corporate Training Needs
A specific training requirement for all corporate employees to be more scientifically aware of how nonverbal communication works, and can impact their work profile is still upcoming in India, and is a question often asked by the HR team when we meet them to pitch our services. The following are the ways in which corporates can benefit from implementing a conscious awareness of nonverbal communication within their employees
Onboarding new employees: Whenever new employees need to be introduced to the culture within the organization or Corporate world, they need to be aware of concepts like personal space, greeting people in the right manner, the impact of first impressions upon potential clients, whether internal or external, and so on. Rather than the do’s and don’ts the approach should be to drive home the reason why these concepts matter, and how to communicate better with their fellow colleagues by understanding these concepts thoroughly.
Fostering greater bonding within teams: If teams can exercise more nonverbal awareness within themselves, it can help them connect better and understand colleagues with greater perspective. Something as simple as maintaining eye contact with all team members in order to be inclusive during team meetings is sometimes missed out on and can lead to groupisms and fall outs. The team leader would then need to spend more time and effort in co-ordinating such teams, rather than getting the best of results when teams function co-operatively.
Nurturing leadership traits in managers: Once an employee shifts from a technical role to one of leadership, it requires him to understand human behavior at an entirely different level. Right from differentiating what body language qualifies as confident to those body language postures signal dominance or aggression, to deciphering hidden agendas of juniors, are some of the issues which need to be taken up during the induction programmers for the leadership teams. These individuals can be prepped to handle situations better by focusing on human behavior and made aware of how the same is communicated honestly by the nonverbal signals.
Bridging communication gaps within hierarchies: I have personally worked on assignments where different hierarchies found it difficult to function together since there was enough scope of leaving gaps in the communication. So how can nonverbal help here? Some ground rules laid out by the Corporate in order to increase the face time between colleagues as well as between organizational layers can make a huge difference. Even simple things like the layout of the office space, how frequent are the face to face meetings etc, what is the format of time out during lunch breaks etc can help reduce these communication gaps and make working together more fruitful.
Increasing profitability of client facing teams: Perhaps this is the most well understood need by corporates. Sales personnel, business development profiles and negotiation teams need to be able to understand the client’s thoughts, feeling and intentions correctly. And nonverbal communication helps here better than does verbal since not everything that is felt is always shared by the client. However, if the sales person has to deliver, it is necessary for him to think like the client, know the client inside out and strike when the iron is hot rather than when it has started turning cold out of disinterest in the pitch being made. Which essentially means that body language needs to be read by the sales person in real time.
Enriching rapport with teams and stakeholders: Only when leaders can connect in the right manner with their teams as well as other stakeholders, can they climb the corporate ladder since soft skills become a more essential part of managers’ profiles once they become responsible for the functioning of those who report to them. And also in turn need to report deliveries of their teams to people sitting on top of them. The fine balance of getting work out of people, covering up gracefully for the team, and ensuring that the management understands the role and contribution of the leader in the right light becomes necessary for all leaders. Sharing the right nonverbal strategies to use for this balancing act can help these leaders to perform their roles with greater passion and less stress.
Accelerating efficiency of people managers to understand issues at work: When HR managers work with people, they need to be able to decode employees at a much deeper level than merely making the employee feel comfortable and at ease. Examples would be like when an employee is complaining about being overburdened in her current profile, but the real reason for wanting a profile shift is much graver. When HR managers participate in hiring processes, they vastly employ the applications of nonverbal communication, since first impressions play a major role in whether a job candidate is given a chance to a follow up interview or not. We have worked with companies to stress the point that deciphering the real time signals of people can help HR managers much better than going merely by first impressions. The same is true of people seeking tie ups with the organization. They need to be understood for who they really are, rather than what they dress up to be in order to make the right impressions.
Deciphering the untold during high stake situations: Details like whether the team in front of you is actually going to be taking the decision, who is the decision maker but more importantly who is the influencer, if there is any particular detail in the negotiation which is making the counterpart highly uncomfortable etc are the various different type of details which can become evident to good body language observers when meetings they are present in can entail high stakes.
Especially useful to decode people in multicultural environment: When teams are mingled up where the members come from different cultural backgrounds, it becomes not beneficial but rather essential that they understand each other in the right manner. Here it requires teams to become not just aware of cultural differences, but rather gain the intelligence of nonverbal communication so that they can adapt to new members with greater ease and acceptance.
All of the above factors are ultimately going to increase any Corporate to improve its top line as well as profitability. It just requires a Corporate to be able to put aside its priorities for technical training and understand that when it comes to humans, there are things which can matter much more than mere numbers. And nonverbal communication can help in multifold manners, a few of which have been listed above.
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