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099 – Next level Non-verbals in a World with Emojis – Part One

In today’s digital age, interpreting nonverbal communication can often be tricky. Many people, even in professional settings, often convey some non-verbal cues through emojis. We will not spend the following skill snippet discussing which emoji best fits calling in sick or bringing up your discomfort about a project timeline because, despite their usefulness, they cannot entirely replace nonverbal communication.

In this conversation with Leanne Van Beek, she discussed these challenges and provided concrete examples from her prior work as an HR professional. After a brief re-cap of the Mehrabian Communication Model, she lays out how to set up JPRs that show care and intention by considering the distribution method and timing. We also discuss how to use certain forms of technology to help us make sure our message isn’t lost when communicating quickly.

AI-generated dictation of the podcast audio

Please note that this transcription was completed using AI software.  Occasionally, unanticipated grammatical, syntax, homophones, and other interpretive errors are inadvertently transcribed by the software. Please excuse any errors that have escaped final proofreading.

Adam Salgat 0:00
Welcome to today’s skills snippet. I am exceptionally happy to bring in Leanne Van Beek who has held a variety of roles with the Chapman foundation over the years. Today she’s going to be speaking from her facilitator lens. Leanne, welcome to today’s skill snippet.

Unknown Speaker 0:16
It’s great to be back at him.

Adam Salgat 0:18
I’m so happy to have the person who started all of these podcasts with me here today to talk about nonverbals. And we’re titling this next level nonverbals. In a world of emojis, you know, over the years, we’ve talked about the four components of nonverbals gestures and movements, eye contact, and facial expressions, speaking voice and tone, body posture and body positioning. And we’ve done podcasts on that, like I’ve mentioned, I’ll put a link to those in our description today. Another reminder here that 10% of our message is only sent through the words that we use. So it’s kind of hard to talk nonverbals in a podcast form, but we’re going to attempt to do that today, we’re going to do our best to describe and you know, use your mind’s eye, then I need you to step in, though and talk to me about in a world of emojis. Talk to me about that part of our title?

Speaker 1 1:09
Yeah, absolutely. I think we are finding more and more often in the classroom that our conversations around nonverbals often pivot to technology discussions. And this idea that we live in a world where we use a lot of text, we try to rely on emojis to add in those emotions that we typically get through nonverbals. And I think what we’re finding is that more and more, it’s resonating with people that even the best crafted email, or well, intended text can be misinterpreted, when only 10% of our message comes through the words. So that’s one thing I think we’ll dive into today, maybe revisit our Moravian model a little bit. And the other is that we’ve also been just talking about how can we be more intentional with our nonverbals. And so I think we’ll talk a little bit too about things that we’re finding are really helpful with self awareness in terms of knowing when to amplify your nonverbals. Like how to leverage those better, as well as times where it may be helpful for you to be self aware and know how to restrain your nonverbals. Awesome,

Adam Salgat 2:07
that’s a perfect setup. When you were talking about connecting and talking through text message and talking through emails, I think a lot of slang is also used. So it might be things like lol, I do that a lot. It’s like my way of letting someone know that I’m smiling when I’m saying it, you know, it’s this opportunity to give them a glimpse into what my nonverbal might be if we were person to person. Tell me about any examples that you have in that space of using phones, or email, and when might be the right time to actually maybe get on a zoom call? Yeah,

Speaker 1 2:41
I think you’re identifying a couple of critical things there. And it’s funny I think about I mean, I have a more direct style naturally. And there are very few people who I think I can send a text to without adding emojis. In fact, there was one day where I was responding very quickly to someone, I had just a couple seconds. And I think I sent a word, I think I sent a single word response to my son, it wasn’t capitalized, and it didn’t have punctuation, which is how many teenagers text. And he called me and asked me what was wrong, because it was so different from, you know, when I’m trying to be really intentional with how I’m texting. So something as simple as that we try to compensate a lot in our text messages. So I think we recognize, it’s not the most ideal form. One of the things we’ve talked about in our class. And just to remind everybody, the Moravian model, the idea behind the Moravian model is that, especially in situations where the emotions high, or I’m communicating something that may cause emotions and someone else, so that’s different than just I’m sending out a memo, here’s information about, you know, our agenda for Friday. But when the emotion is potentially higher, only 10% of the message gets through in the words that we communicate on the page, we get another 40% of the message when we can add our tone. So that’s like just the simple difference between picking up the phone to call somebody versus sending an email. But then a final 50% of it comes through all of those components that you mentioned, our facial expressions or eye contact or gestures. So if we have a message that’s really critical, it’s it’s really important for us to start weighing out when and how do I need to sort of up the level of what I’m communicating. And I think one of the other things that’s really interesting, and depending on how much we want to get into examples, we also find that in some of the groups that we work with, it can feel like it takes a lot of time upfront, to set up a Zoom meeting with someone to communicate something like we’re going to be having a change in a program. And so I want to make sure we can talk about it and it feels like it’s going to take so much time. But if I send out the email and it’s misinterpreted, and another email comes back to me to clarify maybe with some tone that I misinterpret, we’re suddenly spiraling into a series of emails texts, but you know that we have to almost do cleanup and damage repair with so I think we’re also really trying to switch the lens for people on front loading the effort To actually make things more efficient, that

Adam Salgat 5:02
makes a lot of sense. It really does in I can imagine situations where I’ve had that happen where I’m like, I think to myself, once we actually talk, I think myself had they called me immediately, we would potentially have avoided such and such, and we would have been more efficient. In my mind, I think about that, I think about the opportunity to just be more efficient, and gather more information when we have opportunity to actually speak to each other.

Speaker 1 5:26
Yeah. And I think sometimes examples can can really make it helpful. And I know that with a group that we were in, doing some work with recently, they were talking about how much emphasis their organization has been putting into trying to identify when an email may have some emotion behind it, and really encouraging their team to use the language. Let’s get on the phone for this. So rather than responding over email to to just pause it, like cut it right there. Recognize that this is a more emotional situation, we don’t want things to spiral or go out of control. And it was interesting, because, you know, they shared that there was a dynamic like that happening, someone emailed, it was definitely emotional. And the person responding, started their email off with it sounds like we need to get on the phone, but then continued to send, they’re somewhat emotional response. And, you know, it was a great example, because well intentioned, but very quickly, it spiraled into a much larger issue. It required several meetings to try to clear things back up again. And it was great that they were willing to share that with us, because I’m sure there are people listening to the podcast, who can identify with how something like that goes off the rails. And in our family situations, same thing. I mean, how often have you gotten a text from someone, your partner, maybe one of your adult children, whatever the case may be, and you find yourself offended, or concerned or worried or wondering what the text means. And a lot of times we respond in kind with more text, and rarely just clarify the issue that we’re having. Yep.

Adam Salgat 6:53
Quick example of that recently, with my wife, there was something she wanted to talk to me about, I needed to go take care of something because I felt like it was part of something for myself that I needed to do that evening. So I kind of walked away out of this situation, well, I got a text like 10 minutes later, that’s like, I’m crying, can you come in and talk to me. And I did not realize that I had left a space that she needed. Like, I couldn’t just text back, because there was actually I misinterpreted or miss told this story. But there were a few texts after I had left. And I was trying to explain myself in what I felt was a comfortable tone, I did not know that he was interpreting it in a troubled state. So that made a big difference. And so when I got that, though, I went inside, we talked, and everything was healthy, and it was good. But you know, that emotion that I didn’t know she was going through, she kind of took my words, and put more on it than I thought I was intending. And so those are the other elements, what are they going through? And how are they interpreting?

Speaker 1 7:55
Absolutely, you know, you’re making me think of what we talked about early on in our disk module, when we talk about how we all have certain needs and values that are really core to who we are and how much we’ve just been shaped by different environments that we grow up in. So if I grow up repeatedly hearing a certain phrase used with a certain tone, then when it’s texted to me, I am highly likely to apply that tone to it. Even if it’s being said by someone else with a different intention. And when you don’t have that tone. Right, that makes it even more challenging. So, you know, we have these two ideals here. I think in an ideal world, when emotion is high, and we need to communicate something, you know, we’re really looking for what are our best options. But I also think there’s a reality we might want to talk about of tech as efficient. So how can we potentially leverage tech still, like how do we how do we use what we have in the most efficient way possible? It’s a good way to put it. And I think there’s probably a couple pieces we could talk about here. I mean, I think one is, you know, I used to be an HR director for a large nonprofit and sending out someone’s job performance review is always really interesting.

Adam Salgat 9:04
I can imagine. Yeah, because there’s some stress involved. Oh,

Speaker 1 9:07
my gosh, yes, stress involved anxiety, you know. And so for a long time, we decided that it was more effective to send the JPR let them read it, and then kind of get everything out of the way and come in for a meeting. So you’re sending out something like this, right? That’s a message Yeah, words, a motion

Adam Salgat 9:24
because it’s got a lot of direct feedback on performance and how they how you’re perceiving all they’re doing.

Speaker 1 9:31
Yeah, absolutely. And, and so there’s a tone that they’re probably going to read it through. But yet, if you waited to try to do it, maybe in person, it seemed like the anxiety was too high. So it was one of the situations where I think we did leverage the idea of sending the message, but you would typically, typically you would have an in person meeting to explain. I’m going to send this to you. Okay, it’s a chance for you to read it get comfortable and then we would try to set up the meeting to happen Right after they read it, so you’re not necessarily leaving them in a space of anxiety. Sometimes I think there are situations in our workplaces where it’s helpful for someone to have time to read through the context of a situation or a change that’s going to be happening. But our, our follow up then has to be so key. And I think timing has to be really important, because we want to try to get to them as quickly as possible and make sure we have the in person conversation, married very closely to them having the chance to read through the information.

Adam Salgat 10:28
There’s something here, I do want to make mention about the ability to say, hey, let’s meet in person, like you mentioned before, but you have to also keep in mind what your body language is going to be, and what your emotions are when you get to meet in person. So for example, if you’re thinking to yourself, Okay, I’ve got the right words, I know what I want to say, but maybe you’re still upset inside or whether that’s angry, upset, or a sad, upset. Your body language might completely say something else. So it’s the balance of your words and your body language, correct? Yeah.

Speaker 1 11:02
Oh, that’s a no, I think that’s a great point. If we’re not in a place yet, where we’re calm enough to have the conversation, we’re not going to be in alignment, our words are going to be saying one thing. You’re absolutely right, our body and our tone are going to be doing something completely opposite. I

Adam Salgat 11:18
know we mentioned at the top of this skill snippet that we were going to talk about, when is the right time to potentially amp up your nonverbals and the right time to maybe tone them back. How about we break that off into another skill snippet? So then I’m going to say thank you so much for talking through this part of how technology comes into play with non verbals. Sounds good