Think of the last conversation that you had with someone and try to give a percentage to the importance of the following parts for that conversation:
- Verbal communication — information and the words used
- Non-verbal communication — the tone of voice
- Non-verbal communication — body language, especially facial expressions
According to some authors, verbal communication is only one-third of the message, while the non-verbal represents two-thirds of all communication.
This is why that email that you sent the other day risks being misunderstood. What we usually use as 66% of context for effective communication is missing out of this very popular mean of communication.
Because of this, here at Upstack all types of interactions that we have are done through video calls: from interviews to weekly meetings, daily standups, client — developer interactions, etc.
Why is non-verbal communication even more important to remote working?
Distance comes with a lot of advantages, and here we are thinking about the capability to access the world wherever you are; this means you can work for top international clients from the comfort of your own home, or you can up-skill your team with the best and greatest of minds no matter where they are.
But distance if not properly handled can also come with inconveniences. For example, it might be more difficult to build solid relationships at a distance. Relationship building is key for human interactions and an important ingredient in building trust and trust is the foundation of long term collaboration. So now:
What are the most important ingredients of having a great (non-verbal) communication in remote teams?
First, as previously mentioned, you should always prefer video communication over other types of communication.
Then, you should try to pay attention to what you communicate both verbally and non-verbally and especially to make sure both types of communication are transmitting the same message:
- Is your voice tone aligned with your intent?
For example, are you trying to communicate enthusiasm but fail to back it up with enough energy in your voice tone?
- What about your gestures?
For example, are you trying to communicate confidence but you have a closed position?
- What about your posture?
For example, are you trying to communicate engagement but your body language says another story — that you would rather be somewhere else except in this conversation?
- What about your appearance?
For example, are you looking sharp and neat even though you are in the comfort of your home?
One thing to note. Authenticity.
Our tips for up-ing your communication and especially you non-verbal one:
- Before communicating make sure you know what are the key messages you want to send
- Before communicating imagine how you can align your non-verbal communication with your key messages
- During the conversation be authentic in your interactions
- After the conversation, set aside 10 minutes to answer this key question: What are 2–3 things that I can improve in my non-verbal communication style
People that are highly proficient in the way they communicate understand these 2 key points about remote communication:
- Aligning your verbal message with your non-verbal one is very important for constructing solid relationships
- Providing non-verbal awareness cues will enhance co-located sensation in virtual communication
Build a world-class team, in a fraction of the time!