Imagine the following scenes:
You’re sitting at your computer, responding to a few emails while typing up a report that was due yesterday. An employee comes in and asks you a question on a procedure, to which you hurriedly respond without taking your eyes off your work so as not to break your concentration. Not once did you look at them? Did you truly hear their question?
You go into a meeting to learn about a new venture your company is taking on. Once the presentation is finished, you go to ask a few questions. The presenter barely acknowledges that you exist and half-heartedly answers your questions. How interested are you in the information after that?
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~ Unknown
When is the last time you put everything down to look at the person talking to you? Do we truly hear what is being asked or said if we’re not even paying attention to the other person?
“You don’t listen with your ears you listen with your eyes.” ~Unknown
Looking at people when they are talking and asking questions provides a visual indication that you are interested in hearing what the other person is saying. This creates a sense of value. That sense of value can create greater engagement which then increases performance. Watching people can also provide an indication that your message is understood.
The Cues are Visual
Communication consists of 7% words, 38% tonality, and 55% physiology. This means that most of the communication is conveyed via visual cues. How much is missed if the attention is divided? There are often little quirks people have that can indicate if they don’t understand something, such as scrunched brows or a blank expression.
Think about how many meetings you’ve attended online, via Teams or Zoom, where half the people had their cameras off. Maybe you were one of them. How much attention was paid to the speaker instead of answering emails or texts? How much information was missed due to a lack of attention?
When we look at the person talking, we are acknowledging the importance of that person and what they have to say. This creates greater engagement by encouraging participation, which strengthens communication.
More Than Words
There comes a point for every company where doing what has always been done starts wasting time and money. Tapping into new perspectives, truly allowing employees to take ownership of the processes, not only improves the effectiveness of processes it also improves engagement.
Often, what is not said is just as important as what is said. If we are not paying visual attention to the other person, we may miss a change in tone or a flash of a smile for something that was meant to be funny. If we are not watching the other person, we are not seeing everything that is in the message.
When employees are trained on processes, the trainer should be engaging in learning with eye contact. The trainer is watching for visual indicators of if the trainee understands. This can range from a quizzical brow to pursed lips, to even the flushing of the cheeks. Without eye contact, full communication has not happened. Full learning of the processes may not have occurred.
Effective Performance Strategies has tools that can help assess and identify the pain points within the processes of your company to determine if communication is part of the problem. Our specialized experts can assist in building effective communication and developing clear action plans to help your company exceed your expectations.
Put the Phone Down / Being Attentive
In today’s technologically driven society, people are often multitasking. Going to a meeting and still checking on emails? In training and responding to messages? Bored and playing a game instead of paying full attention to what is being said?
Meaning is not fully conveyed, true communication has not occurred, if the eyes are not watching the person speaking. With physiological cues being 55% of communication if the speaker is not paying visual attention to people receiving the message, how will they know the receiver understands?
If your company is having problems, let the experts help!
Contact Effective Performance Strategies today to get you on your way to a more effective and efficient company by ensuring everyone has the proper tools, skills, and mindset for active engagement through communication.