Have you heard of the 7-38-55 rule?
It states that 7% of meaning is communicated through spoken words, 38 % through tone of voice, and 55 % through body language.
Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian at the University of California developed this rule, he laid out the concept in his book Silent Messages (1971). Experts agree that 70 to 93% of communication is nonverbal; that means posture, body movements, eye contact, facial expressions contribute greatly is communicating.
A quick google search shows that “Communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.” On the same search result page on the right side of the page, it shows a definition from Wikipedia that says “Communication is the act of conveying meaning from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.” Do you see the difference?
Communication needs to have a reason, it needs to convey the message. It is not just an exchange of text or words, but eventually, most office communication ends up doing it. Whether it’s an in-house team communication or with a remote team, you need to make it effective.
As we are living in the post-COVID area, remote working is becoming a norm. Work from home culture was growing before the pandemic itself, but in worldwide lockdown, we observed that it can work (a lot of improvements still needed in some areas though). When you have a distributed team, spread across the country or even the world you need to have an impeccable communication strategy and tools to implement it.
On top of regular communication tools like email, messengers, chat apps, phone calls which have their advantages you need to incorporate video conferencing tools. (It might sound like an advertorial of a video conferencing tool, but it’s not).
Video is not a replacement for face to face communication, but the next best thing for remote team communication.
Nothing can replace face to face meetings, it is the best setting for any type of communication. But in the remote work setting video conferencing comes close to it. Video can help us to get the non-verbal communication cues, those are not possible with other methods like email, phone call, chat apps (don’t tell me that you can use emojis to express emotions).
Here is a list of 5 nonverbal communication cues that can be observed through a video call and missed by other methods.
Ups and downs in volume, pitch, speaking style, and overall vocal tone can hint at hidden, subconscious feelings behind the words.
It can reveal what a person is thinking. Eye contact can pose confidence in a person, whereas a lack of eye contact can express fear and uncertainty.
Hand gestures offer extended context to what a person is saying like the scale, importance, shape, direction, or the size of the things mentioned in the speech. It also expresses a person’s excitement, passion about the topic she is discussing.
Head movements can have different cultural connotations, but they are a very good signal to recognize agreement or disagreement. Some head movements can represent disagreement with your views in that case you can take a pause and revisit the point. This is not possible in emails, chats, and even over a phone call.
Body posture represents a person’s confidence, mood, and overall character too. It can tell you how much they are interested in or involved in the conversation. A slouching person is saying that she is not interested whereas standing or upright and leaning forward person shows that they are involved, focused, and immersive.
In the post COVID world, remote sales are also likely to pick up. Remote sales can turn out to be faster and scalable compared to traditional methods. You can adopt video calling tools in your sales and after-sales communication too.
Like team communication, you can see your leads’ or customers’ expressions, gestures which can give you varied ways to handle their issues and objections.
Reference: How Body Language & Nonverbal Cues Are Key