Experts say people communicate mostly (ie, 55%-65%) with their bodies.3 The ability to read and understand body language is instinctual, and studies show 2-day-old babies can read their mothers’ body language.4 Humans in distress react with their limbic brain to freeze, flee, or fight.5 Learning how to react to and intervene with another person’s freeze response may avoid the need to deal with a fight.
Consider a client waiting patiently for her appointment. She is seated, and at first her foot is slowly wiggling and her hands are relaxed and calm. As time passes, she frowns, impatiently checks her watch, begins rapidly moving her foot, and clenches her hands. She is exhibiting the flee response (ie, a nervous reaction to unhappiness). A team member can head off a fight by reading the client’s body language and reacting with an appropriate response (eg, acknowledging the delay, checking the wait time, offering coffee, offering to reschedule the appointment).
Tips for Team Communication
Communication Breakdown? Form a partnership, make a contract