Non-verbal communication is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to building a strong relationship with your stakeholders. Non-verbal communication makes up a staggering 80% of all communication, yet we tend to take it for granted.
Business Analysts spend their time communicating with large numbers of people to obtain the information they need to perform their roles well. So, it is quite surprising to learn that they don’t generally pay non-verbal communication any attention!
What does non-verbal communication consist of?
Non-verbal communication includes any type of communication where words are not spoken aloud (or written down). Non-verbal communication includes: body language, unspoken words, watching the behavior of your stakeholders, and most importantly your behavior, mannerisms and willingness to communicate.
Approachable or not so approachable stakeholders
Have you ever heard someone say this about someone else: “She (or he) is very approachable.”? What are people referring to when they say this about someone? They are essentially saying that this person is an open, warm and welcoming individual. It is not so much about what the person is saying (although they will naturally use words to support this warmth and openness to others), it is how they are saying it.
So what do people say about you? Are you open, warm and welcoming? If not, try to reduce your inhibitions and see how people respond to you. This is the starting point for wonderful progress in stakeholder relationship building. You will find that you can achieve high quality requirements and reasonable outcomes much quicker when you become more approachable and make a real effort to be open. I challenge you to try it out!
Finally, do you feel my warmth?
I am using the written word to communicate my message to you here, but there is a lot more to what I am saying than just what you can perceive. I am intending for particular feelings and non-verbal communication to shine through. Try to recognize this more by looking at the words you use and how you say them; then you can begin to focus on how you can use this with your stakeholders. This will help you to build strong relationships with all your stakeholders at work and make your role as a Business Analyst significantly more rewarding.