Words that make you feel

Words not only express ideas and contain information but many also transmit emotion. Just try reading the words below, one line at a time and see how they make you feel. Happiness           Healthy             Success           Celebration Misery                 Depressed         Failure            Sadness Taking into account the impact of these words on you, it should come as no surprise that you are much be likely to have a positive influence on your listeners and readers if you choose words that evoke positive emotions. This is particularly important when it comes to words that may mean essentially the same thing but could pack a very different kind of emotional punch. Consider for example: “thrifty” vs “cheap”                  “strong” vs “forceful”                “prudent” vs “cautious” Being aware that words can mean different things to different people – and understanding which words may have negative connotations for those you are addressing –  will support you in making appropriate choices to build the the kind of feeling that best serves your purpose. In general, people like to be spoken to directly and to feel engaged and involved. Instead of talking in abstract terms or using the passive voice, sprinkle your dialogue “you” and “we” and “us”; when you are aiming for cooperation try replacing “Will you please do…” with “Let’s do…” No-one wants to feel confused, bored or insulted either. So keep your language and sentence structure simple, clear and jargon-free; use verb-driven language to create a sense of action and excitement and stay away from all words that imply judgements or could be interpreted as offensive. Here is a real life example of...

Non-verbals speak volumes

If you thought what you actually say has the most impact on those you meet, then think again. The non-verbal factors such as facial expression and gestures, combined with your voice tone and all it expresses, far outweigh the appropriateness of your word choice when it comes to making a good impression.  The work Professor Birdwhistell (Introduction to Kinesics, Kinesics and Context), demonstrated that the verbal component of face-to-face conversations is less than 35% and that over 65% of communication is done non-verbally. The good news is that most people have good instincts when it comes to body language signals. The not so good news is that this natural ability will easily lead those you meet into spotting if you are not authentic i.e. if there is a mismatch between what you say and how you say it. What are the implications for you, particularly when you want to make a good impression? Learn to use positive open gestures. Eliminate gestures that may give negative signals. Use your voice to convey all of the feelings you want others to pick up on (sincerity, enthusiasm, warmth…). Not sure how to go about it? If you feel there is room for improvement, get some feedback from those at work or at home that you can trust. Personal coaching or voice work (with The Training Box of course) is also an option. For background reading and an excellent introduction to all that concerns body language, check out our book tip: The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Secret Meaning Behind People’s Gestures (2004, Orion) by Allan Pease & Barbara PeasePublisher: Orion (21 Oct 2004)  ...