Find out what messages you might be unwittingly conveying and what your personal communication mode is in the first part of our two part mini series ‘How to be a successful communicator’.
Messages are communicated not just by words, but by tone, volume, posture, gesture and eye movement.
Have you ever found yourself saying completely the opposite of what you want to say? How about when you know what you said, but the other person seems to have understood it completely differently?
Scientists have shown that non-verbal communication constitutes a large percentage of our social interaction, possibly as much as 93%. Albert Mehrabian (1972) claimed the face conveyed 55% of the information, the voice 38% and the words just 7%. Developing Mehrabia’s work Michael Argyle claimed non verbal channels were 12.5 times more powerful for conveying attitudes and feelings.
Consider how you communicate – look at the questions and decide which is most like you, then have a look at our tips:
1. How direct are you? Do you
a) ‘Small talk’ a lot before getting to the point
b) or are you Comfortable asking to-the-point questions such as “Why are you here?” or “What do you want to pay?”
TIP 1 - If you small talk and feel obliged to ‘gabble’, stop, take a breath and ask the other person a question.
2. Are your conversations
a) Very structured i.e. question/answer
b) or Can you ‘ad-lib’ if someone asks you something you might not be prepared for?
TIP 2 - If you tend to be thrown if the conversation is not structured and you would like to be more able to speak creatively, try to go ‘off-piste’ yourself; introduce more adjectives and description, offer an opinion followed by a question “ What do you think?” And….try to ask open questions that don’t shut down the conversation with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.
3. Do you feel obliged to solve other people’s problems that may not be material to you?
Tip 3 – Remember, people sometimes just want to ‘talk’ and may not be looking for your opinion about their problem. Offer a tentative solution prefaced with ‘You might consider…../I have a friend who tried…..’ If they do seem keen on your suggestions, great, if not, return to being a good listener.
Keep an eye out for Part Two in next month’s newsletter!
Sometimes we start off towards our goals with great resolve and then hit an obstacle that makes us waiver and doubt our ability to move on. Here are two exercises to clear one of those irritating hurdles that you feel you can not get over in your path towards your goal. Doing both exercises will give you a really good understanding of your hurdle and how to get over it.
Exercise 1 - Seven Steps Onwards
1. Firstly ask yourself what is your hurdle and why is it stopping you achieving your goal.
2. Next, list what positive actions you can take to get over the hurdle. Include here the support and resources you have, e.g. who can help you, do you need financial support, do you need to do some research, etc.
3. Now think about times in the past when you may have encountered a similar hurdle, what did you do then that worked to help you move forward.
4. Then do a role reversal exercise: if you were your friend, what advice would you give yourself?
5. This step is only if you are really stuck and not quite over your hurdle: is there something you need to revise or review about your goal to make it still achievable in spite of this hurdle?
6. Now, take action! Do what you need to remove the hurdle using the steps above.
7. Finally, reward yourself for moving forward and overcoming the hurdle.
For an extra practice go to our ‘Free Useful Stuff’ page and do the “Getting through your Goal Obstacle Course” exercise.
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- Isla Baliszewska
- The business bit: I have had 25 years experience in the IT sector encompassing equipment finance to computer recycling. The coaching bit: is about delivering business mentoring and personal performance coaching. My clients range from senior executives to the unemployed and I delight in working with them all to build excellence and promote growth. My specialisms are working with business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and enjoy themselves in the process, and helping individuals to realise their full potential. I also work with young people to build confidence and life skills so they can grasp life's opportunities and make the right life choices.