The majority of communication is non-verbal, so we will look into that first.
the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated.
Your face is a picture that tells a story. We have many muscles in our faces which when used slightly can change our expression and effect the message we are conveying. Take this example;
He said: [smiling] ‘It was lovely to see you’. Compared to;
He said: [frowning] ‘It was lovely to see you’.
It’s the Exact. Same. Sentence! All that’s changed is facial expression and what you say can be taken in a completely different way.
Matching and mirroring is a technique we can all use consciously and most us of use subconsciously. It is when we mirror someone else during contact with them. this means, copying their posture, matching hand gestures, giving them similar facial expressions and a whole load of other things.
By truly listening to somebody and hearing what they are saying to you, you are able to give them superior feedback in the conversation than if you spent your time thinking about what you will say whilst they are talking.
Be present in the conversation, not only by putting down your phone or anything else you might be doing but also do not be thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner, or that conversation you had with someone else that other time, or that massive project that is due soon. Pay attention fully.
This doesn’t mean staring into their eyes for the duration of the conversation (that freaks people out). It means looking at them when you are talking. You will make eye contact but not for the whole time. You definitely should not be looking around the room or looking at your hands as this shows that you are not listening.
Everybody has their own personal space zone and it is different for each person. Some people are happy to sit right next to another person and be face to face, while this is another persons version of hell and they can only tolerate sitting on the other side of the room from their amigo’s.
Everybody is different and you need to consider this when you are talking to someone. If you see their neck and face muscles get tight and their breathing stop or speed up, take a step back and for goodness sake give them some space! However if you see someone constantly leaning in to the conversation you may want to take a step forward.
This personal space can also change for a person during a conversation, they may start out needing a big gap and lots of space but as they start to feel more comfortable the gap begins to close and the same goes the other way round.
Pay attention and be considerate of other people’s space and comfort.
Above is a basic summary of non-verbal communication and below you will find information on the verbal side of communication.
Brian Tracy sums up clarity of communication very well in the video to the right. He explains that almost all of life’s problems come from lack of clarity. He then goes on to advise that before you speak you should stop and think to be clear on what you are going to say, then proceed slowly. If you do that and the message is still not received as intended then rephrase what you’re saying until the other person understands you.
Volume and speed are very important during a conversation. If 2 people are having a conversation but their volume or speed do not match, the conversation will not be productive. People do not like people who are not like themselves. A quiet and slow talking person will not enjoy a conversation with a loud fast talking person and vice versa.
Notice that even in the verbal section of communication, the words that you say are not top of the list. This shows that communicating is a complex task with various different details that need to be given attention to as well as the actual words you say.
When communicating we must always consider the person we are talking to and adjust our way of talking depending on who we’re speaking to.
In order to effectively communicate when trying to improve ourselves or our business’, a vital component is confidence. If you stutter or fill thinking time with ‘umm’ and ‘uuuh’ the person you are talking to will not give the same attention and respect as if you were to confidently say what you are saying without filler sounds.
♦ Preparation is key, be prepared in your mind of exactly what message you want to get across and what words you will use to do that.
Take a look at this short video which sums up clarity in communication.