Friday, 5 April 2013

But I Didn't Say Anything - Thoughts On Communication

As I'm sure many of you are aware, it's the school holidays at the moment. Don't get me wrong, most of the time I enjoy having the kids around - we do stuff, we hang out, we go on trips and try new things. But, now they're all growing up, they're also growing attitude.

"But I didn't say anything" is becoming their standard response when they're called back after slouching out of the room. The fact that they look like they've lost the ability to stand upright or the fact that they're huffing and puffing like a marathon runner and rolling their eyes doesn't seem to count.

But, as my favourite NLP saying goes - you can't not communicate. We're always doing it - our posture, our facial expressions, our gestures all communicate so loudly that sometimes, the words (or lack of them) just don't matter. We can all say words, we can all say what we think people what to hear but the real communication goes much deeper than that. This might be why I much prefer meeting people and getting the whole message than just talking to them on the phone and only getting half the story.

So what is it you're not not communicating? What messages are you giving out to clients in what you say and how you're behaving? Because we're always communicating, we tend to do most of it by habit and as we know, habits aren't always good for us. So this weekend, why not try some of the following to shake it up a bit...

  1. Get self-aware - when you're chatting with someone, try to really notice what's going on. How are you standing? What do you do with your hands? Are you letting your eyes wander elsewhere? If you're trying be encouraging, is your body language being encouraging too? 
  2. Change a little thing - so now you know what you're doing, you know what you can change. Try changing one little thing - maybe tilt your head a little or unclench your hands. Does that get a different response from the person you're talking to?
  3. Ask someone - without knowing how you come across, to others, it's hard to know what to work on. So ask someone you trust to give you some feedback. They might be getting a totally different message from the one you think you're giving out.
  4. Get a plan - so now you've got some awareness and some feedback, try planning what you might do differently. See how people react to you now.
Now, I'm going to practice what I preach and let's see how the kids react to something different...

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