“What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.” – Wayne Dyer
Have you ever found yourself consumed with worry and engrossed in a private conversation about what might happen? (Yes, you are talking to yourself!)
How about those moments when you find yourself consumed with regret or fear as you relive a past decision?
The truth is what we focus on, we find! Yes, we worry about it. Talk about it. Hold court about it, and when the opportunity presents itself, we find ourselves making the same regrettable decision. We FIND IT!
This week in our Master your Communication series, we explore how your perception of past events shapes your present communication and how our thoughts and emotions influence what we say and our decisions and outcomes.
Did you know that you are constantly communicating with those around you? Intentionally or otherwise, verbally or nonverbally, you are always saying something. Being aware of what you are communicating is necessary to convey whatever message you want to get across accurately. This awareness results in a higher degree of clarity, increased trust, and stronger professional and personal relationships.
Communication: 93/7 Rule!
When people think about the word communication, they often think about the act of talking. However, research shows that most of what we convey through our interactions with others is innate and instinctual, known as nonverbal communication. John Stoker says, “93% of communication occurs through nonverbal behaviour and tone; only 7% of communication takes place through the use of words.” Nonverbal behaviour like body movements and posture, facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice contribute to how we communicate and understand each other. Often, we are unaware of our participation in nonverbal communication because these actions are inherent and ingrained into our daily lives.
Since 93% of all communication is nonverbal, your body language plays a critical role in how you convey meaning and information to others, as well as how you interpret the actions of others during conversations. For business professionals, giving off the right nonverbal cues is the key to success. When your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice match your spoken words, your message is reinforced and helps clients, coworkers and prospects better understand you.
“Nonverbal communication is an elaborate secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.” – Edward Sapir.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re continuously giving and receiving wordless signals when you interact with others. All of your nonverbal behaviours—the gestures you make, your posture, your tone of voice, and the eye contact you make—send strong messages. They can put people at ease, build trust, and draw others towards you, or they can offend, confuse, and undermine what you’re trying to convey. These messages don’t stop when you stop speaking, either. Even when you’re silent, you’re still communicating nonverbally.
In some instances, what comes out of your mouth and what you communicate through your body language may be two different things. For example, if you say “yes” while shaking your head no, your listener will likely feel that you’re dishonest. When faced with such mixed signals, the listener has to choose whether to believe your verbal or nonverbal message. Since body language is a natural, unconscious language that broadcasts your true feelings and intentions, your listener will likely choose the nonverbal message.
What You Focus On You Find: Change Your Language To Change Your Mindset!
Your ability to communicate effectively will be helped or hindered by your mindset. Why? Because the way we think permeates our communication, shapes our behaviour, leaks into our nonverbals, and influences what we say and how we say it. According to Brian Tracy, “The law of concentration states that whatever you dwell upon grows. So, for example, if you continually tell yourself, I’m not good at sales, or people never buy from me! The more you think about those statements, the more they become part of your reality.
When you change your mindset, you begin to change your reality. However, it takes time and practice. Here’s what works for me.
- Take a moment and think of negative thoughts that you regularly bring to mind.
- Replace the thought with a positive statement that aligns with your goal. Please write it down.
- Repeat the new statement often and replace the negative thought with this affirmation.
- Focus on the outcome you desire.
- Take inspired action.