Archive for Non-verbal messages

Communication – 3 Tips to Maximize Your Message with Your Voice

Communication is more than just your words. Your voice also adds to the meaning of your words. The message the sound of your voice sends is so powerful it may override your actual words.

Consider the words, “everything’s okay.” This phrase can mean a variety of things depending on how you say it:

“Everything’s okay.” Reassuring or soothing.

“Everything’s O-KAAY.” Sarcastic. As in, ” I told you already!”

“Uh…everything’s uh…okayyyyy.” Unsure or still checking.

Everything okay? a question.

What makes each statement be perceived differently are the three characteristics of the voice: pitch, volume and quality. Maximizing these will make you a more powerful and confident communicator.

You can learn to control all three voice characteristics. Here are a few tips:

Pitch: How high or low your voice is. Talk in a high pitched voice, as if you are speaking to an infant, and you’ll notice your voice is a bit hollow and thin. This happens because you are speaking from inside your mouth. Drop to a low voice and you can feel the sound coming from deeper in your throat. The best pitch for normal conversation is the sound that comes when you breathe fully from abdomen causing your diaphragm to expand. When you are nervous or fearful your voice may sound high or pinched because you’re breathing from the top of the lungs. Take a breath.

Volume: This is how loud your voice is. Again, the volume must come from your diaphragm and not your throat. Throat volume sounds like shouting not confidence. If people continuously ask you to speak up you’ll want to increase your volume, otherwise you may notice others ignoring you. You can practice increasing your volume by “pushing” someone across the room by the volume of your voice. Your practice partner can only move backward if they feel your voice moving them. Try it. You’ll begin to hear what a powerful voice sounds like even though it may sound too loud at first.

Quality: This is the richness, emotion and meaning your voice sends. Pitch and volume adds to the quality but so does your feelings and overall health. Notice the difference the quality of your voice has when you’re feeling sad as opposed to when you’re feeling on top of the world. This is why it is so important to smile when you are talking on the phone–people can tell!

Put the sound of your voice to work today!

Want more tips? Pick up a copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.

Don’t forget to get instant access to The Power of Effective Communication your FREE 6-part Audio Series by entering your name and email in the box to your upper right.

Workplace Communication – Workplace Illusion?

It’s time to replay a video I posted a year ago.

Let me know your comments below.

Avoid Misunderstandings at Work–Communicating with Confidence

Misunderstandings in the workplace are often the result of poor self-confidence. Confidence shows up first in your presence. In-other-words, your posture, the way you move, the way you stand and your energy.

What does all of this have to do with avoiding misunderstandings? The non-verbal message sent by slouchy shoulders, an unbalanced stance and a voice that lacks conviction can easily negate even the clearest verbal message…and that causes misunderstandings. Communicate like you mean it.

Consider the young manager who is not quite sure of herself as she attempts to give direction to her assistant. The request might be as simple as completing a report needed for a meeting. Her words might be clear  but her assistant might read her lack of confidence in her demeanor to mean…”if you have time to get it done.”

If you’re thinking this never happens, think again. The dog whisperer, Cesare Milan, tells dog owners that the conversation they are having in their in heads –positive or negative– translates to the energy a dog understands. The same thing occurs with humans, and no one knows this better than children. The mother who attempts to stop her child from an unwanted behavior by sweetly saying “no honey” in a voice that says  “I don’t really mean it” hardly gets the response she would like.

Communicating with confidence won’t eliminate all misunderstandings but it will help. What do you think?

For more communication tips pick up a copy of  Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work. You can get it by clicking the icon of the book on your right or at Amazon.con.

Communicating with Yourself–The Key to Reinvention

Successful reinvention–the art of creating yourself again–is directly related to how honestly you communicate with yourself. Or in-other-words, your degree of self-awareness. How you see yourself and consequently what you tell yourself is the key to reinventing yourself again and again.

Let’s say you want to move from a corporate job to entrepreneurship  but don’t know where to begin. Does your inner conversation sound more negative than positive?  Are you communicating a message to yourself  that you probably can’t make it happen but you’ll take a stab at it anyway? Are you telling yourself you can’t leave the comfort of your job because of your responsibilities? Are you convincing yourself that you’ll do it when “things” get better? Or are you telling yourself that others have done it so you can do it too!?

Or perhaps you want  to create a successful business around your love of decorating and your jewelry business but aren’t sure how to incorporate both of these passions into a single workable concept. Is your self-awareness clouded by what others have said to you in the past? Is your inner voice convincing you that there is no way to combine these two passions? Or do you tell yourself that there is a connection between the two and you’ll get some help figuring out how to make it work?

Or maybe you are a coach but find yourself losing some passion for your coaching practice. Do you tell yourself to shoulder on and your love will come back? Or are you self-aware enough to realize that you are not practicing what you preach? Are you telling others to have fun but you’ve forgotten to have fun yourself?

The new year is the perfect time for introspection and more importantly taking a risk to step out and live the life you dream about living. Take an acting class, join a mastermind or commit to having some fun.

After all, it is your life. And it’s passing every minute. If it is not what you want take action now.

Reinvention Intervention

Communicating with the Characters in Your Workplace

Communicating at work often resembles a sitcom where coworkers are characters and the story is driven by misunderstandings. Every sitcom from I Love Lucy to Seinfeld to Modern Family are great examples of misunderstandings resulting in humor and a tidy ending.

In reality, misunderstanding with the characters (I mean co-workers) you work with often doesn’t end with a happy conclusion. The good news is that your coworkers may be identifiable as the characters in a good story. Once you get to know them, you’ll be able to anticipate a certain amount of predictable behavior.  Think Seinfeld’s Kramer–you always expect his cockamamie logic to some mundane situation.

So how does this help you? Well, learning how to talk these character types (or communication styles) will help you get your point across more effectively so that cooperation and collaboration becomes the norm rather than the exception.

Ask these questions and notice these distinctions and shift your approach, and your chances of getting cooperation increases.

1. What motivates them?

2. What do they seek?

3. What do they fear?

4. What is important to them?

5. How do they behave under stress?

Create a game for yourself and see if you can created a profile of each of the people you work with and for–and then decide how you need to shift your behavior to connect with them.

What’s your experience?

This post is an excerpt from Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Order your copy today and learn more about behavior styles.

Communication – Maximize Your Message with Your Voice

Communication is more than just your words. Your voice also adds to the  meaning of your words. The message the sound of your voice sends is so powerful it may override your actual words.

Consider the words, “everything’s okay.” This phrase can mean a variety of things depending on how you say it:

“Everything’s okay.” Reassuring or soothing.

“Everything’s O-KAAY.”  Sarcastic.  As in, ” I told you already!”

“Uh…everything’s uh…okayyyyy.”  Unsure or still checking.

Everything okay? a question.

What makes each statement be perceived differently are the three characteristics of the voice: pitch, volume and quality. Maximizing these will make you a more powerful and confident communicator.

You can learn to control all three voice characteristics. Here are a few tips:

Pitch: How high or low your voice is. Talk in a high pitched voice, as if you are speaking to an infant, and you’ll notice your voice is a bit hollow and thin. This happens because you are speaking from inside your mouth.  Drop to a low voice and you can feel the sound coming from deeper in your throat.  The best pitch for normal conversation is the sound that comes when you breathe fully from abdomen causing your diaphragm to expand.  When you are nervous or fearful your voice may sound high or pinched because you’re breathing from the top of the lungs.  Take a breath.

Volume: This is how loud your voice is. Again, the volume must come from your diaphragm and not your throat. Throat volume sounds like shouting not confidence. If people continuously ask you to speak up you’ll want to increase your volume, otherwise you may notice others ignoring you. You can practice increasing your volume by “pushing” someone across the room by the volume of your voice. Your practice partner can only move backward if  they feel your voice moving them. Try it. You’ll begin to hear what a powerful voice sounds like  even though it may sound too loud at first.

Quality: This is the richness, emotion and meaning your voice sends. Pitch and volume adds to the quality but so does your feelings and overall health.  Notice the difference the quality of your voice has when you’re feeling sad as opposed to when you’re feeling on top of the world. This is why it is so important to smile when you are talking on the phone–people can tell!

Put the sound of your voice to work today!

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Everything you need for workplace communication at your fingertips. Get it here.

Communication Begins Before You Start Speaking

Communication starts before you begin speaking. If you find that you’re frequently misunderstood then it’s time you take a look at yourself for the problem.

You must consider how your listener might be filtering your message. Is there a language barrier? If  your listener speaks a different language interpreting your message may lag behind the pace of your speaking.

Do you have different cultural backgrounds, religion, education or positions? These differences could color the way your message is received.

Is your listener emotionally stable or distracted by a physical ailment? He or she may find it difficult to focus on your conversation. Do you like each other? If not, everything you say may be heard in a negative light.

Practice observing your listener for signs of confusion. Check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended.  Be a responsible communicator to avoid misunderstandings.

From  my new book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up — coming soon. Watch for it. In the meantime, get your FREE 6-part audio series, The Power of Effective Communication simply by entering your name and email in the box to your right.

Non-Verbal Communication to Power Up Your Message

Your non-verbal communication is more powerful than your words–when the two are not aligned. If you want your words to be more influential, to carry more weight and authority then you must make certain your non-verbal message is congruent with your verbal message.

Here is one tip for using non-verbal communication more effectively:

In low-risk conversations your non-verbal message i.e., your body language and the sound of your voice, naturally support your words. You sparkle, smile and stand straighter when you’re elated and slump and frown when you are not. But, there are times when you want to appear confident when you are not feeling confident. If you ignore your body and voice relying only on your words your body will betray you every time. To match the two, breath from your belly, straighten your back and relax your jaw, this prevents your voice from sounding pinched and your body from appearing timid. This posture will send a positive message to your mind and you’ll begin to feel as confident as your words.

Try it and let me know.

Copyright 2010 Allie Casey
Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say it and When to Shut-up

Body Language – 10 Tips for Reading People and Interpreting Gestures

by Lynda Goldman

Reading people and their body language can give you great insights into their true feeling.

We use our head, arms, hands, shoulders and even legs and feet to make gestures, and emphasize what we are saying, but the majority of gestures are made with the hands and arms. Here are some things to look for, to help you interpret body language and gestures.

1. Nodding or tilting the head to the side shows interest, active listening, and concern.

2. A head held up indicates confidence, but if it is held too high, it can indicate aloofness or a patronizing attitude – looking down your nose at someone.

3. Shrugging the shoulders with a palms-up gesture indicates that the person doesn’t know or care, or is bored or uninterested.

4. People sometimes reveal their real feelings through body language that contradicts their words. For example, if someone says he agrees with you, but his head moves slightly from side to side, he is really signaling disagreement. He may be showing his real feelings, but not want to be bothered arguing with you.

5. Some people pick lint from their clothing. Whether this is conscious or unconscious, it can indicate that they disagree with you, but can’t be bothered to argue.

6. Nervousness often shows in your hands. People who are anxious may rub or wring their hands together, or clasp and unclasp them.

7. When we aren’t comfortable with our hands, we hide them in our pockets or behind our backs. Hands in the pocket convey a hidden agenda or secretiveness.

8. An open palm suggests honest and sincerity. A closed fist can be considered menacing.

9. Hands on the hips can be seen as defiant.

10. The fig leaf position, with your hands clasped together over your crotch, or folded tightly over your chest (the female fig leaf) can make you seem aloof or defensive.

Do you know the biggest business image mistakes? Find out with these free reports:

7 Business Casual Crimes and How to Solve Them, and 13 Foods that Can Sabotage a Business Meal, when you sign up for my Communication Capsules Ezine at: http://www.Impressforsuccess.com/signup.html

From Lynda Goldman, author of 30 books including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lynda_Goldman
http://EzineArticles.com/?Body-Language—10-Tips-for-Reading-People-and-Interpreting-Gestures&id=1018081

How to Use Communication Skills to Market Your Business

431214_paper_peopleIf you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, who is looking for effective ways to market your business, you probably don’t think of your communication skills as a promotional tool.

All communication is a form of marketing or selling, no matter who you are speaking with. By sharpening your inter-personal skills you can increase the perceived value of your products and services.

Here are a few tips you can use to hone your soft skills for solid results:

1.  Smile more frequently. Wait—you probably think this is silly but the truth is that smiling changes everything. If you’re working long hours, trying to overcome challenges and dealing with frustrations you probably aren’t smiling much.

If you answer the phone or worse greet a customer in person while you’re managing the business of business, it’s unlikely that you’ll greet them with a smile. If you do remember to smile, I’m betting it won’t be genuine. This is unacceptable. You have a business because of those customers. Treat them with respect. Smile.

Smiling sends a powerful message about you and your business.  A stress-free, heartfelt smile invites clients or prospective customers to relax and trust you.  That’s a potent marketing tool. Don’t forget to smile when answering the phone. The tone and pitch of your voice will be more inviting—and people can tell if you’re smiling or not.

The best salespeople keep a small mirror by their phones to remind them to smile when they make or answer a call. Another tip is to post a note that says “smile-you’re making money” by your phone.

Studies show that men smile less frequently than women.  Perhaps they feel that smiling is sign of weakness, or they want to let you know who is in charge or they feel that an emotionless face helps to set boundaries.  The truth is that grinning while saying “no” to someone helps to preserve a business relationship. Whatever the reason, let it go and smile more. It costs nothing and the returns are priceless.

2. Clean up your conversation. This isn’t a reminder to lose the four-letter words from your conversations (that should go without saying.) It is a reminder to eliminate  rambling thoughts, garbled grammar, mumbling and jargon, from  your communication. You don’t hear yourself as others do so record a few phone calls and casual conversations to see how you really sound to others. After listening to the play back, ask yourself if you would do business with you?

This doesn’t mean you need to speak with grammatical perfection or even in complete sentences–that’s not how people talk.  It’s a nudge to take a moment to think about your purpose and intentions for what you are about to say in an effort to make it easier for others to follow you.

If your printed marketing materials send one message but your verbal communication sends another that’s a congruency problem. Get them aligned to increase your credibility!

3. Ask more questions. Listen more than talk. Your customers will tell you everything you need to know about what to market and what products they need. You’re in business to solve their problems so make sure you know what their problems are. Don’t assume you know. Ask questions. Do surveys. Invite suggestions. Don’t market a product you’re in love with but doesn’t serve the needs of your customer. Pay attention and ask clarifying questions. Your business depends on it.

These three essential communication skills don’t cost time or money but they can increase your value to your market.  Smile.