You walked out of an important meeting, and you’re feeling pretty good about it.
You might have met with a potential investor who you need to grow your business.
Or, you could have been interviewed for an important position that you have been working towards your entire career.
However, when the meeting was over, all you hear are crickets… silence.
What went wrong?
Even though you may have prepared for the meeting and said all the right things, there may be a bigger factor that was in play made the other party form a negative opinion of the meeting – your nonverbals.
What are Nonverbals?
Nonverbal communication are cues between two or more people that are transmitted non-verbally.
Verbal cues consist of what you say, while nonverbals of what you don’t say, yet still signify to others.
What Nonverbals Could Have Ruined Your Meeting?
Looking At The Clock
Working individuals are busy – we multitask and have tasks on our calendars every 15 minutes.
As meetings are often unpredictable, and tend to run much longer than expected, many of us are in the habit of constantly checking the clock.
Whether you have another appointment right after, or just want to know what time it is, you should be mindful of how many times you look in that direction.
This action can lead the other person(s) to believe that you are in a hurry, and they may end the meeting early trying to accommodate your schedule.
Speaking Too Quickly
Although speech is a verbal cue, the rate at which you speak is classified as nonverbal.
When presenting or participating in a discussion during a meeting, you need to monitor how quickly you speak.
If your speech is too fast, you risk alienating your audience, who may not be able to keep up.
This is especially vital if the other participants are trying to take notes, as it’s hard to write at the same speed as talking.
It can be advantageous to stop every once in awhile and ask if the listeners need you to slow down.
If everyone is on the same page, you can keep on going.
The way you look is another type of nonverbal cue.
Your outfit, your makeup, hairstyle and so on communicate a message to the person you’re meeting with.
It is beneficial to consider the type of meeting and how you should dress.
For any professional meeting, you should wear business attire.
Companies such as attorney offices and financial firms typically dress more formally, so a suit may be appropriate.
Tech companies tend to be more laid back and may dress in jeans.
Doing some research and dressing accordingly will help you fit in and not feel awkward if you are overdressed or under-dressed.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 13 March, 2017