Have you ever wondered why some people are more effective at getting their message across, yet others can’t get their audience’s attention? We all remember the “I have a dream” speech, though there are many other effective speeches out there, like when Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education, addressed the United Nations youth assembly at age sixteen. Whether it’s a political speech, a person on stage, or a face-to-face interaction, it’s important to get your message across in the way you intend.
“The meaning of your communication is the response you get.” How a listener hears and responds to your words is the meaning that your message conveys. Your intentions, then, whether good or bad, are beside the point. If communication equates to 7% being words, 38% tonality and 55% body language, then the words and the way they are spoken are relevant.
Conflicts can escalate very quickly because 10% of conflict is from a difference of opinion, while 90% is based on delivery and tone of voice. Connection with the speaker comes on two different levels: the conscious and the unconscious. If a person feels threatened because the speaker is aggressive in tonality, then the listener will work to protect him or herself, reacting with the fight or flight instinct that comes from our primal past.
When communicating with clients – whether over the phone or in person – choose your words and your tonality carefully. I recently chatted to a salesperson that wasn’t getting the results he wanted. After speaking to him on a few different occasions, it was clear why he wasn’t getting his desired results. It came down to the use of language and the use of tone. Yes, he was passionate about what he was selling; but he had an aggressive style, which came across as a little obnoxious.
There is a difference between coming across as an expert in your field and crossing the line and having people run away from you. People buy from people they like. You can capture the client’s attention when you listen and then use your words carefully and with the correct tonality. High pitched, squeaky, and weak tonality can be a turn off. If you are asking a client a question, your voice goes up at the end, when you are making a statement, your voice stays plateaued, and when you want the client to do something, you use command tonality with your voice going down at the end.
People will want to listen to you when you come from a place of certainty, they see that you care about them, and they recognize you are there to help them achieve the outcome they want.
If you are not getting results, then take a look deep inside and listen to what you are saying and how you are saying it.
Want to know how you can improve your communication with your customers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.
Written by Penny Votzourakis