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Dealing with the Tough Stuff: How to Achieve Results from Crucial Conversations by Alison Hill, Sean Richardson, Darren Hill

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Chapter 4

Dealing with the unsaid stuff—ensuring maximum leverage from your non-verbal communication

The ability to influence people with ease and elegance is non-verbal intelligence.

Michael Grinder, international education expert

We have all heard the stats about how much of our communication is non-verbal. Some researchers say that up to 90 per cent of communication is non-verbal. Regardless of the validity and reliability of these statistics, two things are given: we absolutely communicate with others without speaking, and non-verbal communication makes a huge difference to how a message is both sent and received.

The correct use of non-verbal communication techniques is a game-changer in tough-stuff conversations. We can achieve great levels of clarity through our language; there is little doubt that an array of well-positioned phrases and key words will get us better outcomes in the crucial conversations. But we can undo all of this with an incorrect or inopportune use of our eyes, hands or body posture at a critical point. Non-verbal communication is like bakers yeast: all of the base ingredients can be present, but the end product can rise to great heights, or fall flat if the non-verbal component is left out of the mix.

Non-verbal communication

Human beings have an incredible capacity to identify and gauge situations based on reading non-verbal communication and body language. We know that a large percentage of our communication happens non-verbally, and yet very few of ...

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