Continuing our discussion on tips for effective communication…

Twelve Tips for Effective Communication – Tip Five: Communication is Not Just Speaking

So far in our on-going discussion in which we will ultimately offer “Twelve Tips” for effective communication, we have discussed four ways to help you improve your communication skills when they may really matter.  The first point we discussed was to set a goal for your communication.  Then, we talked about visualizing an outcome and developing a plan to accomplish your goal. Third, we discussed one aspect of communication linking to basic preferences as to how we make decisions and interact. In our fourth session, we discussed the role of “listening” in the sense of being alert to all the clues and information that a person conveys, not just verbally, but in their body language, tone, pace of delivery and other aspects of communication.

Today, we will touch on another area of communication, which is actually a corollary to our last discussion.  That is, understanding that communication happens on many levels beyond the words you share. Just as we should listen for all sorts of information when we are involved in an important communication, we likewise have the opportunity to use an amazing variety of tools to enhance the effectiveness of our communication. Much of what we will focus on in the rest of this series of communication-focused discussions will explore these fascinating opportunities.

A number of entire books have been written on the subject of enhancing communication using verbal and non-verbal techniques to enhance our communications. Today’s discussion will offer only an overview of things to come as we pursue our discussion to deeper levels in future posts.  In general, we will focus on tools to build rapport and create congruence in your communications with the other person, when those communications are important to you. The areas we will focus on or discuss in more depth than we have so far will include, among others:

  • Proxemics, or understanding how our use of space and proximity to others affects how we come across.
  • Framing and the effective use of word choice, archetypes, and metaphors to connect with your listener.
  • Neural linguistic programming, or the awareness and use of extremely deep-rooted word choices and learning styles to create a link with the listener.
  • Haptics or the delicate art of using touch in appropriate situations.
  • Mirroring, matching, pacing and leading both verbally and non-verbally to create subconscious rapport
  • A variety of other tips to help build trust and rapport and make connecting and communicating with another easier.

For now, try considering the aspects of communication that we have already discussed – in particular the discussion on interpersonal styles and the comprehensive listening skills we discussed last time.  Try listening to and observing the communication styles of someone who is important to you.  Consider what you see and think about ways that you could use what you have observed to build better congruence with the other.  Can you use your awareness of their approach to decision-making to make it easier for them to feel a connection to you? Can you pace with them so that the other views your conversation has having a natural easy flow?  Can you consciously observe the metaphors and word choices the person makes, and pick words that they resonate with, even though they are not consciously aware of your word choice?

BJM  11/18/11

About Bruce MacAllister

Bruce MacAllister is the founder and Executive Director of Business Excellence Solutions. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology and a Juris Doctorate degree. He has over thirty years of experience working with people in conflict, and training and coaching people through conflict situations. He works nationally and internationally with a wide variety of clients, including national departments, research and development organizations, institutions of higher education, non-profits, and individual businesspeople. He has been an ombudsman, executive level manager, project and program manager, trainer, and attorney. Click the "About Us" page to see his full biography. (
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