“Companies that communicate effectively have a 19.4% higher market premium than companies that do not.”
Brief Theory of Communication
Expressing our wants, feelings, thoughts, and opinions clearly and effectively are only half of the communication process needed for interpersonal effectiveness. The other half is listening and understanding what others communicate to us. When a person decides to communicate with another person, he/she does so to fulfill a need. The person wants something, feels discomfort, and/or has feelings or thoughts about something. Effective communication exists between two people when the receiver interprets and understands the sender’s message in the same way the sender intended it.
Successful communication depends on the message being received by the receiver intact and interpreted by the receiver to have the same meaning as when transmitted.
According to research, in a conversation or verbal exchange:
Words are 7% effective
Tone of voice is 38% effective
Non-verbal clues are 55% effective.
Non-verbal clues include:
Body language (e.g., arms crossed, standing, sitting, relaxed, tense),
In other words, WHAT you say is not nearly as important as HOW you say it!
There are Three Styles of Communication:
In order to get what you want, you must be able to tell people what you want in a
way that helps them to want to listen. How you say something or your style of
communication, is very important.
Let’s look at three common styles of communication and see which one is best.
You are being nonassertive when you:
– do not stand up for what is best for you
– do not let other people know what you need or want
– let other people decide what is best for you
When you are nonassertive:
– you stand or sit slumped down
– you look at the floor and your feet
– you mumble
After being nonassertive you feel bad:
– you feel controlled by other people
– you feel little
– you feel helpless
When you are nonassertive, other people see you as:
– not able to make decisions
– always needing help
Being nonassertive is not a good way to communicate.
You are aggressive when you:
– want to win at any cost
– are pushy
– put down other people
– don’t listen to or respect other people’s feelings or ideas
When you are aggressive:
– you stand too close to people
– you clench your fists
– you talk too loudly or shout
After being aggressive you feel bad:
– you feel angry
– you feel alone
– you feel people don’t like you
– people avoid you
When you are aggressive other people see you as:
– a loudmouth
– a troublemaker
– childish and immature
Being aggressive is not a good way to communicate.
You are assertive when you:
– stand up for what is best for you
– make sure other people understand what you need or want
– openly and honestly express your ideas and feelings
– respect other people’s rights and ideas
– listen to other people
When you are assertive
– you stand tall
– you look people in the eye
– you speak clearly
– you listen with interest
After being assertive you feel good:
– you feel honest and respected – you feel proud
When you are assertive other people see you as:
– an adult – able to make decisions
– able to do things – independent
Being assertive is a good way to communicate.
Tips for being Assertive
EYE CONTACT – Make sure the person is more interesting than what is on the floor. Look at the person most of the time. But, do not stare at people 100 percent of the time.
BODY POSTURE – Try to face the person. Stand or sit up tall. But, don’t be a stiff board.
DISTANCE/PHYSICAL CONTACT – If you smell or feel the other person’s breath, you are probably too close. Keep a comfortable distance.
GESTURES – Use hand gestures to add to what you are saying, but remember that you are not conducting an orchestra.
FACIAL EXPRESSIONS – Your face should match your emotion and what you are saying. Don’t laugh when you are upset and don’t have a frown when you are happy. A relaxed, pleasant face is best when you are happy. A relaxed, serious face is best when you are upset.
VOICE TONE, INFLECTION, and VOLUME – When you are making an assertive message, you want to be heard. In order to be heard you have to pay attention to the tone of your voice (happy, whiny, upset), the inflection of our voice (emphasis on syllables), and volume of your voice (whisper to yell).
FLUENCY – It is important to get out your words in an efficient manner. If a person stammers or rambles on, the listener gets bored.
TIMING – When you are expressing negative feelings or making a request of someone, this is especially important. Seven days later may be too long. Doing it right on the spot in front of people may not be the right time to do it. Do it as soon as there is a time for both parties to resolve their issues alone.
LISTENING – An important part of assertiveness. If you are making statements that express your feelings without infringing on the rights of others, you need to give the other person a chance to respond.
CONTENT – What a person says is one of the most important parts of the assertive message. Depending on what a person is trying to accomplish, the content is going
to be different.
Others Who Are Winning by Being Assertive
Assertiveness is not a new concept. People and organizations have won their objectives through assertiveness techniques for thousands of years.
All around you are examples of individuals and organizations who have “won” and reached their goals – by being assertive. For example:
- nations • trade associations • teachers • political parties • professional associations
- Chamber of Commerce • student associations
- government agencies • consumer groups • pressure groups
There are also many individual examples. Here are just a few (listed alphabetically):
- Mohandas K. Ghandi – who’s passive but determined assertiveness freed a nation and inspired subjugated people all over the world to emulate his nonviolent methods to gain their freedom.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. – whose nonviolent assertiveness inspired millions of American people.
- Rosa Parks – whose assertive refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1954 sparked the citywide bus boycott, which propelled Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to national action and prominence.
You will find that the people who stand out as doers and movers and achievers are all assertive people, Although they’re assertive styles may differ.
How To Introduce Yourself
- Stand up
- Look the person in the eye
- Extend your hand for a firm web-to-web handshake. Avoid:
- Bone-crushing handshakes
- “Wet fish” handshakes
- Grabbing someone’s fingers
- Say your name and something about yourself.
- Know whom to introduce first
- Junior to Senior
- Fellow worker to Client
- Introduce a younger person to an older person, a co-worker to boss, boss to a client (the client ranks higher in importance than anyone else in the Company!).
“Hello, I’m Suresh Wagle. I work in Process Improvement in the Polymers Division.”
Meeting and Greeting
- Handshake: Palm to palm.
- Place your hand so that the web between your thumb and forefinger meets the web of the other person’s hand briefly.
- Your hand remains perpendicular.
- If your palm is facing up, this may be construed as a sign of submissiveness.
Similarly, if your palm is on top, it can be seen as a sign of Aggressiveness.
- Your grip – firm rather than weak.
- Consideration is appreciated.
- Be especially considerate
- The perfect handshake -three seconds.
- You can gently pump once or twice but this is not necessary.
- Then pull back your hand, even if you are still talking.
Always use last names with customers unless they are about your age and rank. Ask Customers for permission if you wish to call them by their first name.
Don’t keep customers waiting
Manage business card exchanges flawlessly
Always have a supply of cards
Ask for someone’s card before offering your own
Present card face up
Take time to look at received card
NEVER turn down an offered card
Be selective when distributing cards
Facts about Listening
Facts about Listeners
- Normal span of adult active listening Attention Span 5 – 8 Seconds
- Maximum span of adult active listening Adult Attention Span 30 Seconds
- Stop talking. You cannot listen if you are talking !
- Put the speaker at ease.
- Show the speaker that you want to listen.
- Remove distractions.
- See the situation from the other person’s point of view.
- Be patient. Don’t interrupt : It is the height of disrespect and can greatly harm the relationship.
- Hold your temper.
- Go easy with arguments and criticisms. When you argue, even if you win, you lose.
- Ask questions to show interest and encourage response.
- Stop Talking. This is both first and last, because all other guides depend on it.