Effective communication helps build trust and rapport, which is fundamental for successful business relationships. On the latest episode of The Small Business Show, we are joined by Pamela Barnum, keynote speaker, former undercover police officer, and a federal prosecuting attorney. Pamela is a nonverbal communication expert and trust strategist. She has spoken at TEDx events, and her insight helps entrepreneurs improve their communication skills for extraordinary success.
Once serving as the sole female member in a team of over 90 specialized officers for over ten years, Barnum is now a valuable resource for entrepreneurs striving to enhance their verbal and nonverbal communication abilities. Barnum, often referred to as the “trust agent,” urges business owners to take the time to become skilled communicators, lead conversations with assurance, and make an impact.
1. Since many conversations revolve around how things are said, nonverbal communication is essential. Indeed, words matter, but what matters more is how they are expressed and how you interpret what is being conveyed back to you. “That’s where entrepreneurs have the advantage,” claims Barnum.
2. Entrepreneurs often tend to ignore their intuition because they want to be polite or don’t want to come off as suspicious. But Barnum encourages people to pay close attention to your gut because it’s your brain’s way of signaling that something is wrong.
3. The non-verbal cues to watch out for include Barnum’s ABC’s:
- The A is for attachment. As entrepreneurs, we tend to attach meaning to one thing, but to be reliable in conversations, we need two or more non-verbal cues before deciding whether something is off.
- The B is for biases. Entrepreneurs have biases in every aspect of life, but if they are cognizant of it, they can bypass the prejudices and ignore certain cues.
- The C is for context and culture. Understanding who you are dealing with is imperative because something as simple as eye contact could be culturally sensitive. Hence, entrepreneurs need to be more aware of their audience, as it will aid them in avoiding misinterpreting messages.
4. Entrepreneurs want their foundation to be based on trust, which is a junction of empathy and confidence. Barnum says,” When it comes to conflict, we want to keep things neutral; neutral facial expressions and neutral body language because in the first 30 minutes of the conversation, both parties are reading into each other.”
5. Nonetheless, seeming rushed is a common mistake to avoid when conversing. Even though it may be a habit, constantly checking your phone or watch can come across as dismissive and disinterested, as if you have better things to do.
"It's easy to control our words but harder to control our mannerisms." – Pamela Barnum