What Experience are you committed to causing for others?
You cannot not communicate. Everything you do tells THOSE IN YOUR LIFE how much you do or don’t care about them.
Whether the people I connect with are family, clients, guests, friends or even casual acquaintances, the Experience that I am dedicated to creating for them and the Experience that I actually manufacture is the one cornerstone for success or failure in my endeavors…and sometimes theirs.
To drill down on my intentional focus further for this coming year, I have not only dwelled on creating a positive Experience for others but I have reflected on my 10 years of researching the art and science of building relationships. What I have found is that there is one ingredient that is the most important of all the variables in deriving a relational Experience: it is the all-important facet of Communication. With it, anything is possible. Without it, no deal, no friendship, no marriage and certainly no business can progress with out its powerful wind. Just as there are tailwinds and headwinds, communication can work for you and against you. There are many forms of communication, good communication, bad communication, but the form that is often the culprit for all grievances and failed relationships is simply the lack there of or the proverbial communication vacuum.
I believe that the foundation and the mortar for all relationships is that of Communication. Everything you do communicates on some level; you cannot avoid it. It’s not just the words you say; your tone of voice, eye contact, facial expression and body language, but also your personal and corporate presentation down to the last detail represents you and your intentions.
In his landmark book Silent Messages, Dr. Albert Mehrabian categorizes communication into three parts: 7% words, 38% vocal tone and 55% body language. Even though the words are important, it is difficult to derive actual meaning from the words alone. The primary communication inhibitor is perception on the part of the hearer. Words often have multiple meanings and can easily be misinterpreted without the other two components — tone of voice and body language.
Tone simply implies all of the components that make up speech; inflection, speed, pitch, personality, clarity, volume and energy are just some of the elements that make up a person’s voice. We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s not what you say that is important, but how you say it.” Words by themselves are often neutral, but it is the addition of emphasis and inflection that clarifies their meaning.
The third and most defining component of communication is body language. Body language includes things like posture and how you stand, eye contact, gestures, facial expressions and the mouth. As another expression goes, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.” If there is any question about meaning or congruency, it is body language that lends the most weight to its definition.
We don’t have the luxury of seeing body language over the phone yet, but we will in the next few years. The breakdown on a telephone call is that 14% of communication is the words and 86% is the tone of voice — which clearly highlights the fact that the tone of your voice is much more important over the phone than it even is in person.
WHAT DOES “GOOD” COMMUNICATION LOOK LIKE?
Good communication happens when everyone is on the same page and heading in the same direction. It is clear and involves clearly understood behaviors and expectations. Good communication is always designed and it never panics or becomes exasperated. While deliberate, good also remains very fluid. Good communication looks and sounds professional and executes at a high level of consistency leaving the customer with a feeling that they are truly valued at all levels. Good communication comes from practice — as practice makes expertise apparent and people feel valued inside the Experience you are creating for them.
ASK YOURSELF THIS??
Is there a consistent intentional commitment to the quality, form and frequency of communication with those that you interact with?
If not, then join me this year and place this one item at the top of your list. It just may change your life…and the lives of those around you.
Happy New Year!