It is an established fact that people respond to others not merely according to the words that are used, but on the connection they experience with the person. When people communicate with others, they mostly believe that the message is all that matters. But the reality is that communication goes beyond words. Research has shown that what we say accounts for only seven percent of what is believed, the way we say it accounts for thirty-eight percent while what others see accounts for fifty-five percent.
Surprisingly, more than ninety percent of the impression we often convey has nothing to do with what we actually say. Does that tell you something? So if you believe communication is all about words, youbetter have a re-think, else, you will always have a hard time connecting with others.
In order to connect with your audience, any message you try to convey must contain a piece of you. You need to be more than just a messenger. You must be the message you want to deliver, otherwise, you won’t connect. Your attitude often speaks more loudly than your words. Your message must be more than just a message. It must have value and deliver on the promise it offers to your listeners. It also should have the potential to change other people’s lives. You should tailor whatever you want to say to fit into the needs of your audience.
If you want to succeed in connecting with others, you need to be sure your communication goes beyond words which you can achieve by connecting on four levels.
- Connecting Visually- What people see. According to Sonya Hamlin, we remember 85 to90% of what we see but less than 15% of what we hear which invariably means if you want your audience to remember what you said, you would have to back up your words by showing your ideas alongside. We live in a visual age where people spend countless hours on video games, youtube, Facebook, cinemas and other visual media.
Anytime you are in front of other people to communicate, the visual impression you make will either help or hinder you. If you are well-groomed and wearing the right clothing for your talk or meeting, then that’s a good place to start. Secondly, your facial expression should convey something positive. Improve on your ability by smiling at people and being expressive.
- Connecting Intellectually- What people understand. In order to connect with people on an intellectual level, you must know two things: your subject and yourself. There’s no substitute for personal experience when we want to connect with people’s hearts. If you know something without having lived it, your audience experiences a credibility gap. Effective communicators are comfortable in their own skin. They are confident because they know what they can and cannot do.
- Connecting Emotionally- What people feel. If you want to win over another person, first win her heart and the rest of her is likely to follow. Communication does not depend on syntax or eloquence but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. Even the choicest words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Whatever is on your inside, whether positive or negative will eventually come out when you are communicating to others. People who are able to connect with others on an emotional level often have what could be called charisma or presence. They stand out in a crowd and other people are drawn to them. You just need to be positive, believe in yourself and focus on others. By so doing, you will be able to connect with others making it possible for others to feel what you feel which is the essence of connecting on the emotional level.
- Connecting Verbally- What people hear. Words are the currency of ideas and have the power to change the world. What we say and how we say it make quite an impact. Tone, inflection, timing, volume, pacing- everything you do with your voice communicates something and has the potential to help you connect or disconnect from others when you speak.
In conclusion, in order for you to connect with your audience, your message must be your own and so must your style. Develop your skills as a connector in every kind of situation and never forget that communication goes beyond words. Ralph Waldo Emerson caps it up by saying ‘What you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say’.