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MLP 035: How Successful Leaders Win With Non-Verbal Communication with Lauren Sergy – Part 1

Effective communication is one of the most important strengths you can master if you want to become a more effective leader.

Non-verbal communication is an essential, yet overlooked aspect that can alter the way you are perceived in one-on-one conversations and public speaking engagements. 

In episode #035 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, we speak with Communications guru Lauren Sergy about:

  • Why non-verbal communication is so important
  • How non-verbal communication is emotionally driven and steps you can take to use this to your advantage
  • How to perform at an ‘Olympic’ level when it comes to implementing the right non-verbal leadership tools

This episode is part one of a two-part series. If you want the complete discussion with the brilliant Lauren Sergy, episode #036 is a must-listen!

Lauren Sergy

Lauren Sergy - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Lauren Sergy is a professional speaker, author, and trainer for public speaking and communication skills. She has worked with a variety of clients, organizations, and audiences in the public and private sectors in Canada and the U.S., including KPMG, T-Mobile, Grant Thornton, Alberta Blue Cross, Park deRochie, University of Alberta, and many more. 

Lauren holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Classics. She also teaches business communication at Concordia University of Edmonton and the University of Alberta, and is a proud member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. 

Her book, The Handy Communication Answer Book, was featured on the Best Reference Books of 2017 list by Library Journal.

You can get in touch with Lauren Sergy at – https://laurensergy.com/

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

00:00 – Show Opening

Gordon Sheppard:    Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach, with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to The Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:27 – Start Here – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon Sheppard:    Welcome to another episode of The Meeting Leadership Podcast. Now if you’re a leader who listens to this podcast so you can up your game, then you’re going to get a lot out of today’s show. That’s because today, we’re going to talk about how successful leaders win with nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication, now it doesn’t matter if you’re in a small meeting setting, say at work. Maybe you’re in a volunteer setting, maybe you’re even at home with your family. You know that it’s super important for every leader, who wants to make a valuable impact on the people who follow them, to really understand how to use this skill. One of the best ways to learn about this, is to bring in the experts.

Gordon Sheppard:    Today we’ve got the big guns. Because today, you’re going to hear from Lauren Sergy. A communication expert, with just a wide variety of experience that she’s bringing to senior leaders all over the world. I just want to give you a heads up, because of course when I talked to Lauren she had so much to deliver, that I ended up splitting this episode into two parts.

01:25 – Welcome Lauren Sergy 

Gordon Sheppard:    Today, in Part One, Lauren will talk about the importance of nonverbal communication, and the fact that it is often emotionally driven. She’s also going to give you a bunch of tools, that you can throw right into your leadership toolbox and implement them right away. Then tomorrow, she’s going to share practical tips on specifics, like how to use your posture when you are communicating non-verbally. With all of that in mind, I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here’s the wonderful interview with Lauren Sergy. Lauren Sergy did so well over there on episode 19, did so well as my colleague, did so well as a friend. I absolutely have to be letting people know, about the high impact that Lauren’s making every time she walks in the room. It doesn’t matter, again, as a colleague when we’re getting together, she’s doing it with her students, helping leaders to grow with their public speaking. I don’t mean to go on and on, because these are short episodes, but Lauren, welcome to the show.

Lauren Sergy:       I’m blushing, Gord. Thank you.

Gordon Sheppard:    Blushing is a good thing, and we’ll keep that rolling. I was describing a few things about you, but when you explain yourself to people, what do you say?

Lauren Sergy:       I tell them, that I am on this planet to help organizations, teams, and especially senior leaders become more effective, more powerful, more confident communicators.

Gordon Sheppard:    I know you’re doing that now across North America. You’re doing it on the web, you’re doing it in person. Lauren’s one of these shooting stars, that people want to be in touch with. The right reason to do that is because she’s so effective at what she does, and that’s why she’s here. Today, we talked before this episode about what the topic was going to be. The topic is: How Successful Leaders Win, With Nonverbal Communication. What’s the first thing that you want senior leaders to know, when you bring up this topic?

03:09 – The way we present ourselves matters

Lauren Sergy:       I want them to know that the way we present ourselves, the way we interact with other people really, really matters. And these nonverbal communication aspects of the way we interact can have a deep and meaningful impact, on how people feel about you, and how they interpret the messages that you’ve sent.

Gordon Sheppard:    But if I’m slumping, or I had no sleep or whatever, how do you help me to figure out how to maybe be aware of it, and what I can do about it?

03:39 – The power of non-verbal communication

Lauren Sergy:       What I do is, I tie in nonverbal communication into overall communication strategy. So for me, it’s not just about having charisma or having a lot of poise. Why do you need to have that poise? What impression is it, that you need to make on the people who you are with? I look at the emotions that people experience when we engage in nonverbal communication. Because nonverbal communication is primarily emotion driven. But I figure out what emotions they need to be experiencing, for me to have the impact I want, and for my message to be received the way I want it to be received.

Gordon Sheppard:    This is real leadership strategy, that you’re digging into. I just want to unpack this for a second. So, if I’m crossing my arms and I look stern, but in my mind the goal for the meeting that I’m trying to lead here is to transform people and get them excited; that’s the wrong combo.

04:37 – Facial expressions and their effect on your audience

Lauren Sergy:       It is. It’s not the arm crossing here, that would necessarily be a problem. Arm crossing is a really normal, comfortable human pose. It’s the stern expression. We read each others faces to understand what emotions are happening in the other person. Here’s the fascinating thing, is that audiences or people that you’re speaking with, take their emotional cues from you. So if you’re demonstrating the wrong emotion that you want them to be feeling, then they’re going to feel the wrong emotion, as well. If you want them to feel inspired, and lifted up and engaged, you need to show that through the face. So instead of having a flat expression or a stern expression, you’ll want to raise your eyebrows just a little bit, just a centimeter. Raise the eyebrows up a little bit, think of your eyes as being open and interested. Then relax your facial muscles, so that you look comfortable around them. They’ll see that and say, “Oh, they’re interested, they’re engaged. I should be too.” Then, they’ll start to feel that way as well. This is largely subconscious, this is brainstem level thinking. That’s why you want to strategize it in advance, because it works so subtly. But it’s so powerfully effective, that to ignore it is like ignoring a critical tool in your toolbox that makes your life so much easier.

06:00 – A fraction of an emotion can change how you are perceived 

Gordon Sheppard:    When I hear the way that you’re speaking, and I know the level of work that you do, it’s the difference between amateur coaching and Olympic level coaching, right? This thing of… you just said, raise your eyebrow a centimeter. To get that across to somebody, if they actually grasped that and understood it, that would also prompt them to think about things like their posture, like their eye contact and those kinds of things.

Lauren Sergy:       Oh yeah, these cues that we think are so small, or so subtle, or nit-picky, too nitpicky to worry about, they have such a profound effect that you do need to engage with them. That comparison to amateur athletics versus professional athletics really does matter. Because in athletics they’ll say that the difference between winning and losing is a fraction of a second. Well, with leadership, the difference between being effective and being ineffective, can be a fraction of an emotion, or a fraction of an expression. But they have a profound effect.

06:58 – Special offer: Emotional Planning Worksheet

Gordon Sheppard:    You’ve just been listening to Part One of: How Successful Leaders Win, With Nonverbal Communication. Our guest has been Lauren Sergy, who helps leaders just like you to become outstanding communicators. I highly recommend that you stick around for part two of this interview tomorrow, when Lauren’s going to talk about a few important things that you can actually do. For example, she’s going to give you a few ways to control your posture. She’s also going to let you know about the fact, that you can really choose how you want people to feel when it comes to utilizing nonverbal communication. She’s also going to let you know, about a very special offer. It’s called, The Emotional Planning Worksheet. It’s going to be a highly valuable guide, that leaders just like you can put into action right away. Don’t worry if you’re not near a pen and some paper right now, because I’ll be putting all of that information and Lauren’s contact information in the show notes. You can easily find those show notes by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/35.

07:53 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy

Gordon Sheppard:    I also want to let you know, that this episode of The Meeting Leadership podcast is brought to you by The Meeting Leadership Academy. If you want to become an outstanding leader, if you want to be someone who runs highly effective meetings, this is the place to get great live training, great online training to do just that. Visit MeetingLeadershipInc.com/Academy, to learn more. As always, thanks for listening. And we’ll see you tomorrow for Part Two of: How Successful Leaders Win, With Nonverbal Communication, with our guest expert Lauren Sergy.

08:27 – Podcast Outro

Gordon Sheppard:    Thanks for listening to The Meeting Leadership podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader, and don’t forget to rate and review, so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on The Meeting Leadership podcast.