Communication is such a vital part of our lives and it really emphasises who we are as people. We each have our own brand, and our behaviour is responsible for how people perceive us. At all times we are communicating, not always verbally but non-verbally too; the way we sit, stand, use our hands, the expression on our faces etc. We give away clues constantly as to how we feel about something, and we invite interpretations from people around us.
I am just 21, but already in my life I have seen such a rapid take over and growth of technology, and an unfortunate decline in communication channels that are so important, such as face to face contact. Nothing delivers a message like having the sender and receiver in front of one another. It offers flexibility and the chance to adjust accordingly depending on the other person’s reactions and interpretations.
The importance of non-verbal communication is becoming more and more evident with the use of ‘smiley faces’ and different expressions in texts and even emails. It offers reassurance. For example, you could be limited for time and consequently conduct quite a short and to the point email to a colleague, which could be interpreted badly, however if a smiley face is included at the end, the message is softened and despite its content the receiver is relaxed by the assurance of the smile. (Obviously this isn’t always appropriate!)
After spending Tuesday with group two of the organisation we worked with last week around the issue of effective communication, this topic has really resonated with me. I had so many moments of realisation of how our language in itself is responsible for the state in which we find ourselves. By waking up at 6am and saying to yourself ‘I’m not looking forward to today’, you are setting yourself up to have a rubbish day. How many times have you said ‘It’s a bad day’ before it actually is?! We need to give ourselves a better chance to enjoy every moment, and we can do so by reframing our words and sentences and having a more positive mindset.
Communication resonated in a different way with me on Wednesday, when I assisted one of our new associates Kay at Center Parks Elevden Forrest, working with an organisation on mindset, and how to positively effect change. We had 30 delegates, with English not being the first language for about 75% of them. It was a really nice atmosphere being amongst people from 6 different countries; France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, America and England and the importance of communication I had been involved in presenting the previous day suddenly became amplified. The use of my non-verbal communication became even more significant when trying to convey a point to them, or have a discussion. Kay and I both had to be aware of how we said things, the speed at which we spoke and it was imperative that we noticed the delegate’s non-verbal communication to ensure they had understood and were happy.
Whoever you are and wherever you are, you are communicating in some way. Even when you are alone you are communicating with yourself, and altering your state and mindset in either a favourable way or otherwise. My advice is to become more aware of your language and how it frames your approach, give thought to how others are interpreting your language and consider whether or not it is congruent with what you intended.
Written by Maimee Morris – Intern.