April Meeting – Non-verbal communication


The importance of body language in getting a message across was the subject at Bingham Business Club’s April meeting.

Chris Hallam of CH Coaching Solutions has in the past worked with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and the world-cup- winning England Rugby squad. He also spent 30 years with the Lloyds Banking Group. He now works for Nottingham-based Boots, part of the Wallgreen Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise.

Chris said that body language played a far greater part in getting a message across than what was actually being said. He said research shows that 55% of communication is effected through non-verbal skills, 38% through how the words are said, and only 7% through the words themselves. He said that, when it came to important presentations or speeches, many people spent far too much time focusing on writing the words and not enough time on how to deliver them effectively.

He also said the brain responded better to simple messages, recognising pictures or gestures more easily than complex written or spoken messages, hence the growth in the use of emoticons in messages.

Chris highlighted areas of non-verbal communication where cultural or geographical elements could confuse the message. For example, the concept of personal space or the use of eye contact has different meanings in different places. He also spoke about the role played by posture, gesture, tone of voice, and physical response.

While people could learn how to improve their non-verbal skills, some elements could not be faked, such as shaking when under stress or blinking rapidly when lying.

He said one of the best ways to learn the skill was by watching others and trying to work out the dynamic between them and any situation they might be trying to resolve.

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