Body language

Every waking minute of every hour of every day, we are communicating with people. But did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal?
That means that people are picking up the majority of information from us not through what leaves our mouths, but through other means: the subtle body language we may not even be aware of. That 93% non-verbal communication is hugely important – so how do we ensure we are giving the right messages?images

You can start by trying my method: I like to think of the Three Wise Monkeys when I advise on body language.

1. Hear no evil – When a patient is talking to you, are you listening? If you’re reading or looking at something else, making lots of notes or appear otherwise distracted, the patient will get the impression you’re not taking in everything they’re saying. Why should they pay for your services if you don’t really appreciate what they need?

2. See no evil – The eyes are supposed to be the window into the soul, so if you avoid eye contact with patients you may inadvertently suggest you have something to hide. Equally, you can pick up a lot of information about a patient from their eyes: dilated pupils suggest an interest in what they are hearing, while constricted pupils mean they are closed off to your ideas – so it’s time to try a new approach!

3. Speak no evil – When you are sharing information, you want to appear honest, trustworthy and knowledgeable. Something as simple as fiddling with a pen when you are talking about costs can make you seem dishonest. You’ll be amazed at the difference in people’s responses if you learn to sit still throughout a conversation!

Of course, there is much more than this to learn if you want to master body language, but keeping those Three Wise Monkeys in mind can set you off on a much more productive and profitable track. Why not try it out – and encourage your staff to do the same?


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