From the time we get up till the time we go to bed, we communicate our wants, desires, fear, worry, anxiety to all the people around us. We should learn how to get our message across, because words matter. Words provide the basis for human connection, they matter a great deal. Although we have always known this intuitively, science has confirmed the tremendous power our words have on ourselves, our communities, and the world. The words we use and how we use them matter immensely because they shape the way we perceive the world and participate within it. Words are tricky because people can interpret the words we say and the manner we said those words in a way that is different from the way we originally intended. Words can lift us up or drag us down.
Choose your words carefully. Throwing words around in a nonchalant manner to whoever, whenever, however, and whatever can be reckless and have consequences. Be mindful of the words you use and how you use them because they will have an impact positive or negative on the people around you.
How to get your message across? By establishing a good rapport with your interlocutor
The advice below comes from Evy Poumpouras, a former Special Agent with the US Secret Service and the author of the book “Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, Lice Fearlessly.”
Rapport is the ability to understand and communicate with people. You have to build rapport and then maintain it throughout the conversation till the end without dropping the ball in the middle of the conversation. It is like a ping pong game.
Use words that make people comply with what you are saying rather than words that make them resist you. Think about how your words are going to land on that person; so in order to get your message across you have to understand that person well and understand their triggers and how those words are going to land on them.
“It is an excellent rule to be observed in all disputes, that men should give soft words and hard arguments; that they should not so much strive to vex as to convince each other.” John Wilkins.
If you are dealing with someone who has a big ego, and if this person is someone with whom you want to maintain a good business relationship with, you may want to soften the words you are going to use to express the fact that on this particular occasion you will pass on the business opportunity so that they will not feel that your rejection of their offer is a direct attack on their identity or their ego. You have to be mindful of the fact that the word “no” can have a negative impact on your interlocutor, it can make them feel rejected and diminished. Having said that, there will be circumstances where you have to be more direct and decisive in your answer, and the words ‘no’ should be used in the right circumstance and will make you feel strong and assertive.
There could be situations where you need someone to wake up and react to what you are saying because they are completely indifferent to you or not really paying attention; in this case, drop some bombshell words and then watch how those words land on them; you will get a reaction from them in no time. Words are powerful, they can wake people up, shut people down, and they can also lift people up.
How to get your message across? By cultivating the art of acceptance, adaptability, by giving your interlocutor some autonomy, and by having empathy
How a word is interpreted and how a word lands on a person is going to be completely different from person to person because we are all unique individuals with different sensitivities and triggers. What you are saying and how you are saying it is important because it will have an impact, positive or negative, on the person you are connecting with.
You will find below 4 tips (from Evy Poumpouras) that will help you get your message across and have a top tier type of conversation
1. Acceptance. One of the hardest things you have to do when you are having a conversation with someone is to be able to accept what they are saying as truth, not your truth but their truth. If you start a conversation with a feeling of absolute knowing and self-righteousness, it is not going to be a good conversation and the chance is, it is not going to end well either. Try to resist the urge to tell the other person that they are absolutely wrong and try to accept the fact that what they are saying is their truth. Offer the interlocutor a safe place where they feel that they can say what they want and that they can be heard. That means being able to push your ego out of the way and instead of entering into a diatribe about how wrong they are, just listen to their point of view. Whether you agree or not is not the point, you need to give them sufficient space to express themselves to understand how they think, and how they feel about this particular matter.
2. Adaptability. When you have acceptance which is the biggest hurdle, the next thing you can do is to have adaptability. Adaptability means not being rigid. When you are rigid you are going to struggle. You may have an agenda and a road map before you go into that conversation, but if things go in a different direction, allow the person to go where they want (for a little bit) before you try to re-direct the conversation where you want to go. Pay attention to how the people who are listening to you are reacting to your words if you feel that you are losing them, because they can’t see where you are taking them, go straight to the point instead of going around the bush, or crack a joke to wake them up.
3. Autonomy. Give your interlocutor some autonomy, some kind of power in a situation where they may feel powerless. When you are negotiating with someone, or when you are having a difficult conversations, it is definitely not a good idea to try to bulldoze or destroy that person. Maybe you will win that argument this time around, but you will have built (unbeknown to you) in that same process a mountain of resentment. Giving your interlocutor some kind of power back builds rapport and connection.
4. Empathy. Being emphatic doesn’t mean sympathizing with the other person’s viewpoint; it means the ability to see things from another person’s perspective.
Having a good handle on how to get our message across is a skill that we all need to practice. It is always better to convince people through your words, demeanor and action rather than trying to shove something down someone’s throat no matter what, which is happening too often these days.
“Persuasion can go through obstacles that force cannot.” Yusuf A, Leinge.
Henry S. Truman said: “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” Politicians are very good at this, when they can’t convince, they are trying to confuse the people by saying one thing and their contrary in the most inarticulate manner. Inconsistencies of speech, followed by actions that are contrary to what was preached a minute earlier is a complete turn off for me. Walk your talk otherwise you are not going to convince me.
This said, I feel in awe when I am listening to someone speak with eloquence, grace, and conviction. I am way impressed when I see someone handle difficult and stressful situations even verbal attacks with a calm, composed demeanor whilst holding their ground and standing up for themselves. Some people are really good at this, others less so.
Your Quest., my dear friend is to be in the group of people who are a top-tier communicator.
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