"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said."
~~Peter F. Drucker
Actions speak louder than words. In fact, communication is more than words. Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal and only 7% is the words you speak? Here are some tips to bolster your non-verbal message.
"So what does posture have to do with someone listening to what I have to say?” you might be asking yourself. But think about it. When someone is slouched over, how likely are you to pay attention? After all, if they thought their words were important, wouldn’t they present themselves in that manner?
Standing up straight and tall, just like mom told you to do when you were a kid, makes a difference. Someone who carries themselves with confidence makes a statement even before they open their mouth.
2. Eye Contact
Have you ever tried to talk to someone who would not look you in the eyes? Frustrating isn’t it? When you have something to say, it’s important, and there is someone out there who needs to hear it. Making eye contact conveys a feeling of “I believe in what I say, and I believe my words will be of use to you.”
3. Vocal Variety
I remember a professor I had years ago. When he spoke, the tone of his voice never changed. Needless to say, the class was a real snoozer. Even when you’re not speaking formally to a group, it’s a good idea to vary the tone of your voice to keep people interested. If you’re not sure now to do this, start paying attention to people on television. One person who I think does a terrific job with vocal variety is Keith Morrison who often narrates segments of Dateline NBC which can be found on youtube.com
4. Facial Expression
The next time you’re in the bathroom shaving or putting on your makeup, have a conversation with yourself in the mirror. We all talk to ourselves anyway, so put these little talks to good use. Watch your face. Can you determine if you’re happy, angry, or just plain disinterested? When you are talking to someone, they are reading your face even more than listening to your words, so facial expression is an important part of communication.
It’s not necessary to dazzle people with words they need to look up in the dictionary. It is a good idea to become aware of your speaking vocabulary. Make a tape of yourself speaking casually. Now count the number of times you use words and phrases such as “like”, “awesome”, “you know”, “kind of” and other colloquialisms. You might want to break the habit and clean up your vocabulary.
We all want to be heard and understood. Practicing these 5 simple tips, will help you get your message across and make yourself heard.
IT IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!
This post first appeared in It's All In Your Head! in June, 2013