- Take care that your nonverbal signals match the mood of what you say. Smile when you’re angry and you look false. It’s almost impossible to completely fake your body language, unless you’re a brilliant actor, so don’t try.
- Think happy thoughts about the person as you talk. If you tell yourself you like them (or just their shoes or hat) the warm thought will come through in your expression. Your eyes will crinkle, just so, and your lips relax. (NB muscles of mouth). If your mind is full of fury, you may find yourself pointing, folding your arms or standing too close. You just can’t manage all those little give-away signs at once.
- Use verbal imagery to a looker. Talk about being on the same page with them, tell them to watch out for a bright idea you’re about to explain. Ask them to let you paint the picture.
- At work, they may prefer an email approach to a phone call. But, take care with your emails: they can be a minefield of misunderstanding. Read every one over at least twice before you hit the “send” button.
- Check your appearance,
especially if your boss is a looker. A hem that’s falling down, baby sick on
your shoulder, a skirt that’s too tight: she’ll spot them all.
- Describe things with pictures and diagrams and put them in writing. Verbal directions may be too confusing. Write things down whenever you can.
- Use colour carefully. Red is energetic, but it can look aggressive. Blue is relaxed but can seem cold. Yellow looks bright and cheerful, especially in winter, but too much can tire the eyes. Use colour to match the mood you want to convey.
|Noise can overwhelm a listener child. photo dreamstimefree_8577967|
- Speak calmly. Your tone is an important way of communicating and “listeners” will be sensitive to how you sound. Speak too loud and you can come over as aggressive.
- Make sure your voice is smooth.
Hoarseness, a too-deep, gravelly tone or a high-pitched squeak will infuriate a
- Practice breathing from your
diaphragm. This is the best way to overcome any problems with voice quality.
Your voice will become firmer and you will need to raise it less often to get
- Offer spoken instructions alongside
pictures or the written word where possible, especially when explaining to
children. People who prefer the hearing channel are likely to remember things
they hear more easily than things they see and touch.
- Turn the music down. Yes, I
mean you, restaurant managers and shop owners. Above a very low level, many
people with high sensitivity to sound simply cannot bear to hear the noise. It hurts
and distracts. They will leave and never return.
- Try gentle, quiet music as a
way to calm an over-excited auditory child, cutting out visual clutter such as
a heap of toys. Keep your voice soft and speak slowly.
- Check emails from your boss and colleagues. If they uses expressions that suggest they’re “listeners,” use similar metaphors to make your words resonate with them.
Understanding the world
I write this Communication Blog
Frances Evesham: on the run around Europe for years, with only a husband, three children and a succession of opinionated cats to keep me out of trouble. Somerset stopped me in my tracks. Now I walk in the country and breathe sea air. I will get around to cleaning the house soon.
I've been a speech therapist, a professional communication fiend and a road sweeper. I sometimes work in the criminal courts to uphold fair questioning of people with special needs.
I smell the roses, lavender and rosemary as I cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. Writing historical romances and books on communication leaves enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns and wish I’d kept on with the piano lessons.