The importance of non-verbal communication skills

First a sleeping report, made it to 4:50am again last night, hopefully I can maintain that!

Now, non-verbal communications, for example being able to read body language!

It is alarming to me how, in this age of social media, conference calls, email, texting, tweets, and yes Blogs, how people are losing the ability to be able to gain a level of understanding of how people feel and are reacting even when the language is incomprehensible to them.  At one point IBM used to educate all our employees in body language, etc. and I have been at IBM for a long time now (originally joined at the beginning of 1977) and os had a lot of that kind of education in my days as a young systems engineer so that it has become second nature to read the signs now.

Here in Taipei where the primary language is Mandarin, where we have a very short 3 weeks to establish relationships, gather data that can be stressful to our hosts to provide and in the end provide a thoughtful and insightful set of findings and recommendations and where their is a large difference in cultural norms; being able to read the body language of the people we are meeting with is a significant advantage.

All business is about relationship, yes, even when you are buying goods over the Internet you don’t always take the absolute lowest price if you are not sure of the reliability of the supplier, we use ratings and the like to help us gain some degree of trust that we will be satisfied with the result. Then over time we will probably pick that same supplier over others because of the history of successful transactions we have. In face to face business it is the same, people repeatedly buy from those they know and trust.  Without leveraging some of the tools and techniques like body language it can take a long time to establish that relationship.  There is a lot to be said for meeting face to face, but we need to help the new generations in our business acquire the inter-personal skills they need  to be truly successful.

If you made it this far, thank you, I will now step down from my soapbox!

Perhaps next blog Avril and I should start the discussion of FOOD in Taiwan! There is certianly a lot to cover on that topic!

#ibmcsc Taiwain #Smartercities challenge


1 Comment

Filed under New Taipei City, Taiwan

One response to “The importance of non-verbal communication skills

  1. David Kerr

    Very insightful. Great to follow this……