Words aren’t the only way to tell someone how you feel.
– Tifa Lockheart, Final Fantasy VII
I recently started yet another play though of Final Fantasy VII (on my Playstation 3 via the Playstation Network) – and this quote jumped out at me near the start of the game.
I often help individuals with their personal communication skills. One thing that everyone seems to know, but very few know how to do is manage vocal tone and body language. When we have an important message we want to communicate to others in person, we have the tendency to think about the actual words we want to use.
I remember setting up a meeting to ask about a promotion at a job I was working. I spent several hours writing out and re-writing the words I thought would make my case. When the time to meet with my boss finally arrived, I was so nervous that I forgot half of what I wanted to say. When I did speak, it must have sounded really rushed and disorganized, because all I did was focus on WHAT I was saying and not HOW or WHY I was saying it.
Then, when the meeting was over, I thought that if I just had the right words, it would have made all the difference(I did not get a promotion).
But I totally missed the point. My tone and body language sent the message that I was not ready.
Some people just seem to be more natural with their tone and body language. Are you looking to improve your communication skills? Focus less on what you are saying, and more on how and why you are saying it.
Practice your tone and communication style with friends and family. Engage others when ever you have a chance. Have you ever wondered why some individuals sound so professional and at ease in their communication? (Listen to my interviews with: David Hayter, John G. Miller, Dr. James Rosser, and Simon Sinek for examples of great communicators).
Practice when it does not matter, so that you can be ready for the times that do matter.
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