All leaders have some great ideas. They’re a dime a dozen. But great leaders have ideas that are contagious and cause others to catch fire.
It is not sufficient for leaders to have great ideas, according to author Vanessa Van Edwards. Her new book, “Cues,” explains that communication is the charismatic key to conveying inspiration so others are inspired.
According to Van Edwards, learning to understand your cues, the potent nonverbal, verbal, and audible social messages individuals give to one another is the key. Even though nonverbal signals account for 65 to 90% of our entire communication, most individuals have no idea how to utilize their body language to communicate successfully.
Edwards quotes a pioneering Princeton University research study that discovered extremely captivating individuals had a unique combination of two essential characteristics: warmth and competence. Those who have both convey trust and trustworthiness and a warm, intelligent, and collaborative demeanor. But even bad leadership is better than no leadership.
So what is the answer?
What is the issue? According to Van Edwards, most of us have an imbalance between these two attributes, which negatively impacts how others see us.
When there is too much warmth and not enough competence, it comes across as kind but not always impressive. When there is too much competence and not enough heat, it comes across as clever but chilly and suspicious. People won’t trust your skill if you can’t exhibit your warmth, argues Van Edwards. It’s a leadership challenge.
Worse, if you score poorly on both warmth and competence, you’re more likely to be disregarded, discarded, pitied, and devalued.
You’re competent, yet others think you’re unapproachable? To communicate greater trust, cooperation, and openness, try including a couple of these warming signals into the mix.
- Tilting your head expresses inquiry, attention, and appeasement.
- For added warmth, try adding a picture to your LinkedIn profile with a slight head tilt and a genuine grin.
- Nodding! You trigger empathy by affirmative nodding. It’s basic leadership communication.
- Raise your brows to demonstrate interest and inquiry, as well as to attract attention.
- Smiling! Genuine smiles spread and produce happiness, making others happy as well. Leadership demands it.
- The savor grins — those that take longer than half a second — are the greatest.
- Appropriate touch. An innovative and discreet touch — think handshake, high five, fist bump, slap on the back — builds trust.
- Mirroring. You impress people and gain respect by meeting them where they are and discreetly mirroring their actions.
- When you mirror positive body language, it conveys agreement and harmony.
- And don’t forget teamwork!
Competence Instructions for Leaders
If you’re naturally warm and you know you’ll be engaging with someone with more authority, use some of these indicators to increase your leadership presence.
- Expansive posture.
- For example, standing up straight with your feet apart. This makes you seem and feel more powerful.
- And having a confident posture can help you inspire confidence in others.
- Lower eyelid flexed.
- Narrowed eyes — also known as a “smize” — indicate concentration, contemplation, and examination.
- The Steeple stance, with palms facing and fingers softly touching, is a worldwide leader’s symbol of confident concentration that persuades others of your dedication.
- Only authentic leaders keep this in mind at all times.
- Explanatory gestures. Intentional, confident hand gestures — such as holding up fingers while counting or stressing your statement with a lightly closed hand and thumb pointing — assist others in better understanding your message.
- People pay attention to you when you flaunt your hands.
Charisma Inspirations for Leaders
Van Edwards recommends integrating three extremely charismatic nonverbal signals in addition to warmth and competence indicators.
- Leaning in.
- The quickest method to seem and feel interested and involved is to trust. Turn toward someone if you want them to feel heard, appreciated, and valued.
- To encourage openness, remove any obstacles by opening out nonverbally — crossed arms, a laptop, or podium.
- Physical distance equals emotional distance, according to Space Smarts.
- You’ll make people anxious if you go too near too fast, and you’ll have a more challenging time bonding if you get too far.
- The sweet spot is between 1-1/2 and 5 feet away from a person.
- Making eye contact is critical for leaders to make connection, and gaze is the ultimate attention signal.
- We seek to see where someone is looking to figure out what is most important.
Cues from the Danger Zone
While under-communicating is an issue, inappropriately signaling fear, shame, and guilt signs is also a problem.
Keep an eye out for and try to avoid the following red flags.
- When you step or lean back, look away, or check your phone among people, you create emotional distance, making you less charming.
- Rubbing your arms or neck, cracking your knuckles, or stroking your nose detracts from your charm and makes you seem uneasy or hesitant.
- Blocking our body (arms crossed over the chest), lips (hand over mouth), or eyes (shielding eyes with a hand) gives us a sense of security, but it also indicates narrow-mindedness.
- Putting your hands on your forehead and staring down indicates embarrassment and fear.
- Avoid unwittingly indicating anger, grief, or disdain by being mindful of the signs your face sends while it’s at rest.
You’ll learn how to convey power, trust, leadership, likability, and charisma in every interaction by increasing your awareness, understanding, and use of nonverbal cues. Leaders with great ideas get those ideas across by successfully engaging with others.