Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. A passionate teacher, he is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas – and then delivering them with panache. He has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents.
He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to take on the investment community. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. And he has himself spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world. He founded his own communications consulting organization, Public Words, in 1997.
In this conversation, Nick discusses his new book, Power Cues.
Geetesh: What are these non-verbal cues that determine around 80% of the impact that we can have on other people?
Nick: We constantly receive body language cues from each other, throughout the day, from everyone. Most of those cues affect us unconsciously, not consciously. But becoming aware of them will give you an edge in your day to day living and work. Here are three body language secrets that you can put to work right away, to give you an edge and make things go just a little bit better.
How You Stand Is How You Feel.
If you want to project confidence and authority, you have to stand confidently. Funny thing is, if you stand confidently, your body language will send signals to your brain that things are going well. Your hormone levels will move in the right directions and you’ll feel better. So hold your head high, throw your shoulders back, suck in your stomach, rotate your pelvis back, stand on the balls of your feet, and smile. Do this five minutes before the important meeting, in the rest room or the privacy of your office if you have one. You’ll be glad you did.
Lean In to Close the Deal.
We tend to back away from people instinctively when we ask them something hard. That’s precisely the wrong way to move. We sense distances between ourselves and others very precisely. Even if you move your head back a quarter of an inch the other party will notice unconsciously and feel less connected to you. So when you need to make the big ask, close the deal, or raise the stakes, you must move closer to the other people involved.
But don’t get too close. Personal space is good – in Western cultures, that’s between 4 feet and a foot and a half – but intimate space (a foot and a half to zero) is too close unless you’re in love.
Keep Your Eyes Wide Open.
Do I need to tell you that good listening is the best way to connect powerfully with others? If you keep your eyes wide open, you’ll look like you’re listening. But you’ll actually listen better and more fully, because once again your body will tell your mind what’s going on – even if you know the trick. So keep your eyes open and on the other people. We tend to squint when we’re thinking, or suspicious, or just near-sighted. But when we do, other people unconsciously interpret it as a lack of interest or a lack of agreement. Don’t do it.
Put these three quick tips to work today to increase your persuasiveness with others.
Geetesh: You explain seven such cues in your new book, Power Cues. Can you tell us more about the book and the cues?
Nick: Here’s a quick summary of Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact
There are the seven questions I argue in the book that leaders — or anyone who wants to communicate powerfully — need to ask themselves in order to stop leaving their communications to chance and to start communicating consciously. The work that each of these questions suggests, and the research that backs them up, are the body of the book.
How do you show up when you walk into a room? Take control of your presence and change both your thinking and the messages you send to those around you.
What emotions do you convey for important meetings, conversations, and presentations? Share your focused emotions and control the emotional tenor of your tribe.
What unconscious messages are you receiving from others? Use your unconscious expertise to stay attuned to the hidden messages of everyone around you.
Do you have a leadership voice? Tune your voice to automatically lead your peers.
What honest signals do you send out in key work and social situations?
Establish the right levels of energy and passion to win the contract, the negotiation, or the raise.
Is your unconscious mind holding you back or propelling you forward?
Shed your unconscious mind of the blocks and impediments to success.
Are you telling powerful stories?
Convey your message in ways that ensures that your listeners are aligned with you, down to their very brain waves.