Tip Eight – Appreciate the Power of Word Choice Combined with Non-Verbal Cues
By now it should be clear to those of you who have been following the posts on the Tips for Effective Communication, that effective communication involves more than just clear speaking. As my posts to this topic have illustrated, effective communication is about effective connection. Among the key things that we have discussed so far, effective communication involves having a goal for your communication, deeply listening to the others involved and gaining an understanding of their style. Once we understand what others find convenient in their communication, it involves employing approaches and techniques to bridge the gaps between others’ preferences and our own defaults. Typically, of course, our communications happen automatically and without conscious thought into the differences between our style and that of others.
Tip Eight reminds us that, when confronted with communication challenges or important opportunities, we have the chance bridge the gaps between our communication styles and approaches and build rapport – largely at a level that is subconscious to the others involved. We do this by appreciating the power of our word choices – the pacing of our speech, the metaphors we use, and the conscious selection of auditory, visual or kinesthetic terms to build connections verbally. Perhaps even more importantly, we also do this through non-verbal approaches. We can very consciously manage our body language, distance to others, expressions, and eye movements to build deep sub-conscious connections.
Tip Eight really does not add new content to our tool bag of communication skills, but it is just as important. Tip Eight is the reminder not to slip into “Auto Mode” in our communications, unless and until super comfortable rapport and easy communication have been built. Tip Eight reminds us, too, that we need to be continuously alert to the times when communication might slip and we might revert to approaches that cause our connection with the other to erode.
In my last communication post, I talked about C3 Communication (“Conflict Conscious Communication”) and the need to be sensitive in our communications to those things that may trigger conflict, and to avoid them in the first place, if possible, and to make early adjustments when necessary. As effective communicators, our goal is to be continuously vigilant to communication challenges and to keep – at least in the back of our mind – awareness of the tools, skills, and approaches that will enable us to build and maintain our connection, using the skills and techniques that we have discussed so far.
©Bruce J. MacAllister, November 14, 2013, all rights reserved.