Business Magazine

You Cannot, Not Communicate!

Posted on the 19 July 2011 by Combi31 @combi31

You Cannot, Not communicate!

Oh, how true this statement is, but so often misunderstood, and one of the pre-suppositions of NLP.

People often, mistakingly, imagine, that by doing nothing, they can avoid personal responsibility in communication, but, I am sorry to say, this just ain’t true.

Humans communicate all the time – whether they are aware of it or not – and by any number of methods and mechanisms. It is not just what we say, but how we say it, which carries a whole lot more weight than the words alone.

There are the non-verbal cues, such as hand gestures, facial gestures, eye-contact and posture to name but a few.

Para-linguistic cues, such as inflection, accent, tone, intonation, rhythm, sounds and register.

These are the things that we can see and hear, but they don’t stop there. We communicate by both action and inaction – sometimes a more powerful message is conveyed by doing nothing, than when we are actually doing something. Let’s have a brief look at this to illustrate what I mean:

1. Imagine that you have been trying to contact somebody by telephone and they have not responded – What do you think? Yes, you are not important to them as they are far busier with other things … They could, however, have left their telephone in the car, at home or even misplaced it, but this doesn’t stop us imagining the worst.

2. You have finally decided to leave a message on the telephone of your contact and still, after a couple of days, they have not got back to you. What do you think? Yep, same again … you are not too high on their list of priorities, or maybe they are avoiding you …

3. You have sent an email to the person this time – a couple of days have passed and still no reply. This is starting to get out of hand, right! They just don’t care, are rude, disorganised etc., etc.

Now you may be able to take a step back and put all of the above in a positive light, but you are in a minority there .. Most of us think the worst, and most of our thoughts are negative, which can spark off anger and frustration.

But hey! The person has done nothing – oh, yeah! BUT, they have, in some way, communicated some pretty strong messages – You cannot, not communicate.

Whatever we do, or don’t do, we are communicating some sort of message.

In language, it is quite striking how pauses (intentional and well-placed, pauses) can speak so much louder than the words around them.

Posture is another strong way of getting a message across – people often like to play around as ‘the-part-time-psycholgist’ interpreting body language of others and extracting, sometimes, dubious conclusions – folded arms, does not necessarily mean defensiveness nor a desire not to open up. It could well be just comfortable.

However, put these, non-verbal cues together with verbal or paralinguistic clues, and you may be on to something.

Communication is all about responsibility, and taking responsibility for the message creating the intended response with the listener – if communicators are not willing to take responsibility for this, then their communication ‘results’ will suffer – by what they say is not clearly understood, then whose fault is this then?

Communication is a game of perceptions often devoid of reality – the importance is what is perceived by the listeners – not what I say, but what is understood and remembered. It is not a binary process – there are lots of variables that need to be taken into account, by the communicator – it is not my audience / listener’s fault if they get the wrong end of the stick – the responsibility stays firmly with me!

And, whatever I do, I will be communicating in a constant stream – I cannot, not communicate!

So just remember, when you are trying to persuade people of your super-mega ideas to change their lives, don’t slouch, avoid eye-contact or speak with a driveling, monotonous voice – you are in fact going to convince them of something – but it won’t be to ‘buy’ you or your ‘product’.

Because your intention will not match the response that is created in your listeners, and when they fall stony-silent when you ask them if they have any questions, they are communicating a very strong message to you – most of it can be resumed by a resounding “Nah, not interested, sorry … Next!”

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You Cannot, Not communicate!
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By Donte Pawlowski
posted on 18 October at 00:26
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