One of the ways we learn things in life is when we receive feedback from others. This is why you need to maximize the level of feedback you get so you can absorb more knowledge. However, it is important that when someone is telling you something, you must not be rude and push them away. Show them respect and they will be more than happy to give you more feedback in the future.
As you know, there are people you just don’t want to give feedback to, you hate to do it. On the other hand, there are people you don’t mind responding to. This depends on how you received feedback in the past. Remember, Feedback = Learning = Improving! The best way to attract feedback from people is to know the right body language.
Did you know most people think 80 to 90% of all communication between people is non-verbal? That is not entirely true because according to research done by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, it is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% verbal. Either way, the words we say don’t have as big an impact as we might have imagined. How many times have you avoided giving feedback to someone because you did not have the right words or the best way to say it? A time comes when you finally muster up the courage and say whatever comes to mind without thinking of your tone of voice or body language.
By not paying attention to your body language, you are only making things more difficult for yourself to give and receive feedback. Here are 3 ways to use body language to maximize the effectiveness of your feedback:
Eye contact is the hardest and most important aspect of body language when receiving and giving feedback. Most people don’t look the other person in the eye when offering feedback. I have observed a lot of people staring into empty space or fiddling with pens or (the worst of them all) looking at their mobile phones. We are afraid that making eye contact during feedback might show our vulnerability and our true emotions during the situation.
However, maintaining eye contact is important. It commands attention, shows respect, appreciation and allows for the true emotions to be expressed. If someone is taking the time to provide you (hopefully growth oriented) feedback, then it is important you are clearly showing a positive attitude to receiving it. In the outdoors on an expedition or any outside workplace, this becomes more challenging because you usually have sunglasses on. In this case move to a location where sunglasses are not needed. To have effective eye contact, sunglasses must come off.
A person’s body posture says a lot about them. It can show your mood and openness. When you are receiving feedback, your body should show an eagerness to listen and learn. This is called active listening. The best way to do that is to lean a little forward when the person is talking to you. This will show the person in front of you that you are taking interest. Make sure that your arms, legs, ankles and feet are not folded or crossed. Create an air of openness and nod your head a little occasionally. This is the best way to show the person providing feedback that you are actively listening.
Stress and anxiety are your enemies here. They make you frown, slouch and even cross your arms in defense. All these body postures and forms form a signal that goes to our brain and influences how we feel. This results in a change in our body language.
Does Nonverbal Communication Depend on Numbers?
When I said that it is 55%/38%/7%, this does not mean it is true all the times. Circumstances change and affect the situation at hand differently. A person’s emotions can only be known if they are properly analyzed at the moments of receiving and giving feedback.
The next time you are receiving feedback make sure you are a wear you are making eye contact, have an open body posture, and read the emotions as much as the word from the sender. Do you have another tip to receiving feedback, let me know by leaving a comment below.