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The Champion Forum Podcast

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Fix Your Face - The Power of Non-Verbal Communication for Leaders

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! How often do you pay attention to your facial expressions? Your face represents you, whether you want it to or not. And people don’t just pay attention to your expression on your LinkedIn profile photo. They’re looking at how you respond while on the phone, in a meeting, or while simply doing your work. Today on The Champion Forum podcast, we will discuss the power of expression.


Everything you do is either building your leadership brand or taking away from it. Leaders with a strong leadership presence will inspire confidence and trust in their teams. Their teams are strong and cohesive, and they move forward with their professional goals. Leaders with a weak leadership presence often have a team that is in conflict. They frequently field questions about their decisions and actions and are met with skepticism. Ultimately, leaders who struggle in this area will struggle to move to the next level of their career and may even be asked to step down.


Skills to Improve Your Leadership Presence

Non-Verbal Communication

Your nonverbal communication can affect your credibility, trustworthiness, and likability as a leader. Your body language has a massive impact on how other people perceive you and how they interact with you. Just as good posture sends nonverbal signals of energy and confidence, poor posture makes you look bored or unmotivated. Your facial expressions are also part of your nonverbal communication, accounting for up to 93% of your overall message.


Verbal Communication

Make sure you back up your positive, confident body language with your language. Give your feedback confidently instead of saying things like, “This may be a stupid idea . . .” or “You’ve probably already thought of this . . .” Uncertain language will lessen people’s perception of your credibility.


To portray…

Happiness, confidence, and friendliness: smile genuinely and widely

Attention, alertness, passion: Open your eyes wide.

Interest and curiosity: Raise your eyebrows slightly

Agreement, encouragement, and support: Nod your head occasionally

Positivity and resilience: Relax your forehead and eyebrows, lift the corners of your mouth

Empathy and understanding: Tilt your head slightly to one side

Respect and confidence: Maintain eye contact


Application Activities:

  1. Practice your body language in the mirror. The next time you have to give a presentation or have a difficult conversation, try rehearsing what you want to say in the mirror. As you talk, look at your posture and eye contact. Look at your hands. Are they relaxed and at your side? Are you making occasional gestures? Or are you folding them? This exercise will help you focus on your body language along with your words to ensure the two are aligned. If you notice any bad habits during this exercise, like touching your hair or pulling on your shirt, you will become more aware of when you do them in public.

  2. Your non-verbal communication can also be affected by hunger, stress at home, fatigue, and mental health. Even the best communicators can accidentally look disinterested, unengaged, or upset when they are struggling with other areas of their lives. Do your best to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and take care of your mental health. Talking to a pastor or counselor can help you learn how to manage stress so you can portray calmness and confidence at work.

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