Sunday, July 14, 2013

You Are Always Communicating

Everything about you is constantly communicating. (WARNING: Long sentence ahead!) Putting aside the actual words and content of your speaking, consider that your level of energy, your psychological state, where your head is (in the moment, in the past, in the future), your clothes and how you wear them, your hair, your facial expressions, your eyes, your gestures, your posture, your lips, your breathing patterns, your tone of voice, the pace of your speaking, and the volume of your speech, all these things and more, are constantly sending out bits of information about you that people either consciously or subconsciously are “hearing,” interpreting, and evaluating. (Okay. Take a breath.) Given this reality, ask yourself this: Is all this data supporting what I am actually verbalizing and moving me toward achieving the goal of my communication, or is it detracting from or, worse, contradicting what I am saying?

When I use the word “excited,” does my energy, tone of voice, and body language, communicate this excitement or do they communicate boredom?

When I tell people how deeply I honor and respect them, with the utmost sincerity, while being slouched over in a chair, staring off into space, and my fingers tapping to the beat of the music in the background, are my words going to communicate my “utmost”?

With eyes squinting, lips pursed, and arms folded across your chest, you then say, “Yes, I would love to do this for you,” what is it I will “hear” you communicating?

Imagine an important conversation you have recently engaged in. It can be with your spouse, a child, a coworker, a client, anyone. In your mind’s eye imagine you are watching a video of this event. Place your intended outcome right in front of your eyes. Now. Replay the video with the sound turned off. Notice the gestures, the nervous tics, your expressions, the energy you are demonstrating, your posture, your breathing, your eyes, your hands, your feet—notice everything. Knowing what it was you were seeking to communicate did your non-verbal communication support or did it detract from your outcome?

Replay the video, only this time turn the sound up. Listen to the melody of your voice and your breathing patterns. Pay attention to your word choices, the general outline of your presentation/conversation, and to whether or not the energy and tone of your words communicated your truest feelings regarding your topic. Where do you see the highest degree of congruency between these things and the goal of your communication? Are there any incongruence’s that detracted from your intended outcome?

The more congruent we are in our communication, where our psychological states, posture, clothes, eyes, and everything else about us that is communicating, aligns with the words we are using, the message we are seeking to convey, and the outcome we intend to realize, the more effective we will be as communicators. When it comes to communication and persuasion, congruency is power.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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