Most of a message, about 55%, is carried by the nonverbal body language cues. The tones and inflections of the voice carry about 38% with the remaining 7% being the words themselves. We all know that, right?
I was somewhat surprised the other day. I was speaking with someone on the telephone. This means that I would not have direct access to the nonverbal cues that carry so much of the message. While he was speaking, I actually could hear a smile. Maybe not really hear but I could definitely feel the smile in the conversation. I am confident that if we were face to face I would have seen the nonverbal cue of a smile.
A true smile involves the eyes and upper parts of the face. You know the crinkling and twinkling eyes, the raised corners of the eyebrows and ears, etc. Apparently, this changes the acoustics of the head so one can actually detect the smile in the voice itself. Who knew? Well, not me, obviously. Apparently I just never paid that kind of attention before.
I was amazed that I could hear the smile and it reminded of the saying, “It’s amazing what amazes a simple mind.”
So why am I telling you this? To amaze you, of course. Also, I want to warn you that, just because the other person can’t see you on the telephone doesn’t mean they can’t detect hints at the nonverbal cues you are exhibiting. Even though the person can’t see you, the body language still leaks out.
Just as it is important to portray the appropriate body language face-to-face, it is as important to do the same on the telephone. Whether you are the receptionist or the CEO, the person on the line can “Hear” your body language.
So smile while you are speaking on the phone. Smiling also makes you feel better even if you did not start out that way. Smiling improves many things internally and externally. Smile while talking and wait for the other person to hang up before you slam the phone down. If you don’t, they can hear that also.
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