The Silent Language of Leaders

Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 | 0 comments

Today I received an email from Jerry Panas at the Institute for Charitable Giving sharing seven factors from Dr.Carol Kinsey Goman’s “The Silent Language of Leaders.” Dr. Goman is a senior consultant for The Dilenschneider Group.  Mr. Panas added some comments of his own in the list below.  Rather than attempt to distill or rewrite, I am sharing Jerry’s email with the seven factors he chose to focus on:

1. FACE PEOPLE DIRECTLY.
Even a quarter turn away from the person you’re talking with creates a barrier.  It signals a lack of interest and causes the other person to shut down.  Close your laptop, turn off your cell phone, put your purse or briefcase to the side.  (Good advice, also, when you’re talking to your spouse or partner !)
2. MAINTAIN POSITIVE EYE CONTACT.
Look in the eyes of the person you’re talking with.  It transmits energy and indicates interest.  As long as you are looking at me, the other person infers, I believe I have your full attention.  Greater eye contact— especially in intervals lasting four to five seconds— almost always leads to a greater level of approval.
3. USE OPEN GESTURES.
Keep your movements relaxed, use open arm gestures.  Show the palms of your hands.  These are all silent signals of credibility and candor.  Individuals with open gestures are perceived more positively and are more persuasive than those with closed gestures (arms crossed, hands hidden or held to close to the body).
4. USE YOUR HEAD.
The next time you’re trying to encourage the other person to speak more— nod your head.  Employ three nods at regular intervals.  Research shows that people will talk three to four times more than usual when the listener nods in this manner.  [I know how this sounds, but try it, it really works !]  You’ll be amazed at how this single nonverbal signal triggers a very positive response.  Also, tilt your head a bit to the side while listening.
5. ACTIVATE YOUR SMILE POWER.
Smile !  It directly influences how other people respond to you.  When you smile, you will almost always receive a smile in return.  And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings (a reaction called “facial feedback”), the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.  This one simple act will instantly and powerfully send a message of warmth and welcome.
6. LISTEN!
Dr. Goman calls this, “The Silent Language of Leaders.”  For our purposes, those of us in development, it could have been written as if she had us in mind.  You have heard me preach and write that listening is the most effective jewel in the fundraiser’s treasure chest.  These tips are an invaluable skill to use in your contacts.
7. Aim High!
“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” — Benjamin Lee Wharf

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