In every moment, of every interaction, with every person, you have an opportunity to engage someone. Did you ever stop to think about how effective you are at truly engaging others? If you think WHAT you say is compelling enough to create true engagement, you might want to think again.
Did you know that 93% of daily human communication is actually nonverbal? Where does that number originate? Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through voice, and 55% through nonverbal elements such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture. Subtracting the 7% for actual spoken words equals the 93% figure.
How are you communicating nonverbally? To answer that question, think about how often you believe you are giving someone very clear instructions and they head off in a totally different direction. Has this ever caused problems for you? If you want more misunderstanding and chaos in your life, just follow these tips and I guarantee that you will keep on miscommunicating:
1. Don’t pay attention. If you relish being misunderstood, ignore the nonverbal signals being thrown your way. If you see a furrowed brow or blank stare, don’t ask clarifying questions.
2. Talk over people. This is a sure-fire way to get ignored. Be completely and totally absorbed with the sound of your own voice and don’t forget to ramble. Keep on talking even when you see body language that suggests they have a question such as an open mouth or the intake of a breath. How dare they interrupt! You’re communicating here!
3. Send an email or text message. Nothing gets the message across more effectively than a hurriedly composed email or text. Type your thoughts just as they’re running through your head. Don’t pay attention to the literacy level of the people with whom you’re communicating. It’s YOUR words that matter. And never, ever, stop to proofread! They’ll understand since it makes perfect sense to you.
4. Don’t make eye contact. It’s perfectly natural for you to look off into the distance or at the ceiling or floor while you’re talking. That just means you are formulating your next bit of penultimate wisdom and determining how you can “dumb it down” so your listener will appreciate it to the fullest.
5. Don’t ask questions. The information you are trying to convey is critical and the only thing that matters. Your point of view is the only point of view and no one else’s input is worthwhile or will change your mind about anything. You’re a busy person so stay focused on your message and there’s no way you could be misunderstood.
I hope you enjoyed this facetious method of describing ineffective communication. I have found that communication skills are necessary and powerful tools to be an effective and successful Leader. If you are an effective communicator, enjoy asking questions, and create environments where the exchange of ideas is a natural result of your conversations, perhaps you have what it takes to be a Leader.