The more delicate nuances of conversation are often missed by many people. A subtle glance, an uncomfortable swallow, or a slight step backward all mean something, and sometimes they mean a BIG something. But what happens when leaders aren’t cognizant of body language and words left unspoken?

Learn To Observe Others, And Let Neuroscience Lead The Way

You can’t be a leader in a vacuum, leading an army of silent workers who never have an opinion. The leaders needed in this Imagination Age have to be on top of their communication game. Collaboration is expected across the world in many cases, and leaders who are clueless about what is really going on will not be sufficient.

With our increased understanding of how our brains works, we are learning more about how communication means more than just words. The nuances of unspoken communication are unclear to many people, and we are potentially missing out on half the conversation.

A recent study that examined the impact of nonverbal communication in teaching found that teachers could make a positive change in students’ attitudes with supportive body language. The study also emphasised the need for teachers to learn and practice effective communication skills (Bambaeeroo, 2017).

Before you get into the mind, you have to inhabit the physicality. Body language is a great way of speaking.

Michelle Yeoh

It doesn’t matter if you’re a leader, a teacher, an actor, or a parent. Being able to pick up on body language cues is important, no matter what role you are currently occupying. You probably wear many hats in life, and when you put on your leadership cap, so to speak, you can’t suddenly wall yourself off. Look around and realise how much conversation is happening without any words at all.

It may be an eye-opening experience for you, especially if you tend to focus on your tasks for the day and you kind of block out other thoughts. When you communicate and interact with others, are you really giving them your attention, or is your mind already at the next meeting? Are you missing important cues that are meaningful to the people you are around?

Non-verbal cues are more than loud sighs and eye-rolls, and being able to observe others will improve your own communication and therefore your collaboration skills. Maybe you are the one giving the negative signals and you don’t even realise it!

Bambaeeroo, F., Shokrpour, N. (2017). The impact of the teachers’ non-verbal communication on success in teaching. Journal of Advances in Medical Education & Professionalism, 5(2), 51–59.

Originally posted on: 1 February 2018
Last updated on: 18 February 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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