To Communicate or Not To Communicate…?

Well actually, it’s impossible not to communicate, because even if you entered a room full of people and stood in the corner and didn’t say a word to anyone and then you left after a couple of hours, you would have said volumes!

Why? Because 55% of what you say is actually through body language. So standing in a corner by yourself you would have been saying to some people, “oh s/he’s aloof”, or “perhaps s/he’s shy”, or “s/he’s not very friendly,” etc.

The questions most of us, especially in business, could ask ourselves are:

  • What do I want to communicate?
  • How do I do that?
  • What areas do I need to polish up on?

Many people think because they have a loud voice and are fairly confident this makes them a good public speaker or communicator. Not so!

This article was published in Enrichment Magazine in December 2003. Click to enlarge.

There are so many skills and techniques you can use to increase your charisma, be engaging, inspiring, but probably most important, gain rapport. Without rapport you ain’t got nothing!

Talking in someone else language, whether they be visual, auditory or kinaesthetic is crucial to get someone to listen to you and for them to feel ‘you’re their kind of person’. Having said that, most people have not mastered the art of listening, they are too busy waiting to have their say. Good listeners are genuinely interested in the person they are talking with. Good communicators seek first to understand and build rapport before talking about themselves in order to build a relationship.

You may have heard the expression “It’s not what you say, but how you say it that counts”. This is VERY TRUE! Only 7% of what we say makes up our communication, 38% is the ‘how’. That includes vocal variety, voice tone, pitch and facial expressions.

Then of course there is language itself, any good salesman will tell how crucial this is. To get someone into a ‘yes’ set is so valuable. However, let me make it very clear, this does not mean manipulating anyone. If you are not operating from a place of integrity and desire a ‘win/win’ situation, then chances are you will ‘fail’ miserably, either by losing the ‘sale’ (whether that’s your services or product) or getting the ‘sale’, but the person not being 100% happy about it and never wanting to do business with you again.

When I run seminars on Public Speaking/Communication Skills, there are often people who have a great fear of standing up, even in front of a few people, and delivering their message. The reason for this, again, is because they have their focus on themselves and not on the message and the audience they are giving it to. Being your authentic self, caring about the message being communicated in exactly the way you want, and being heard, (many people of very quiet speakers) is all you have to do to begin laying the foundations of speaking publicly. There is a saying “the meaning of your communication is the response you get”. So if you are not getting the response you desire, start looking deeper into your communication skills.

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