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Finessing How You Communicate

Part 2


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(…continued from last week)

Matching Linguistically

Sometimes even buzz words or slang are another part that allow you to communicate with specific populations better. Knowing how to speak the language of medicine, marketing, business, athletics, some specific targeted groups, allows you to fit in better with them when dealing with people in that group. To not know those buzz words or that slang that fits into a group may get you cast in the light of an outsider.

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Knowing the commonly used words or phrases of a group can help. In many instances these specific words can clarify the messages given and received because everyone knows precisely what’s meant when those words are used. When you enter in with a specific niche make sure you know some of the language unique to them so you don’t automatically become discounted.

Pacing is at least part of finessing language. The tonal sound and the rate of speech are effective methods to enhance rapport. How you use your voice helps create a connection with your listener.

Doctor Albert Mehrabian stated that 38% of the information received comes just from the sound of the language used. Some sources indicate the sound and rate may have even greater impact than that. The rate of speech, volume, pitch variance, rhythm, clarity, tone, and pauses in speaking add greatly to the message given. You speak at a rate comfortable to you. When someone talks to you at a similar rate your discussion will feel comfortable.

Hearing a voice akin to your own strikes a chord in your brain that says, “Aha! We are similar!”

When excited the rate of speech usually becomes a little faster than normal, the tone of voice generally gets a little higher pitched and the volume is slightly louder. These subtle changes indicate the intensity of the message given.

Notice the next time you are familiar with someone when they become angry or they become highly excited, notice how their voice changes. These changes in tone when they speak accompany the change of the emotional state. If you tend to speak at a fast pace, it can be an ordeal to talk with someone who speaks more slowly.

Pacing the Auditory

When dealing with someone who does speak slower or pauses off and on, do you ever finish sentences for them? Do you find the conversation sometimes seems to drag or do you become frustrated when they are talking about something and you wish they’d just spit it out? That’s not a great habit.

Look at the situation from the other persons’ perspective. They are working to communicate with you and they keep getting interrupted. Do you like it when someone does that to you or do you like other people that put words in your mouth? There are times when it could be helpful, but most of the time it’s not that beneficial.

Once when keynoting at a conference, I observed a brief conversation between two men who seemed to be having a conflict. Later I intentionally interacted with each of them separately and casually mention I saw them in a heated conversation with the other person. One of the people I spoke with was a gentleman from New York, the other was from Alabama.

The Alabaman gentleman said, “That jerk from New York was as rude as anyone I’ve ever met! He doesn’t listen to anyone except himself! He’s one of those guys who talks just to hear himself speak. Every time I’d try to say something he butts in. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise!”

The New Yorker when I spoke to him said, “When I was talking to that guy from Alabama he seemed like a real dim bulb! He was mentally unfocused and he was so slow. I guess why he doesn’t speak very well, as we talked he became agitated and spoke more loudly. It was odd, definitely not someone I’d want to be around for very long!”

These two men with actually a lot in common (they were both doctors) at a medical conference in their specialty, were very out of sync. The words they used were close in matching but how they each approached the conversation was unique; their social manners, their body language, their voice tones and especially the rate of speech were greatly different.

The New York doc spoke at about 180 words a minute. The Alabaman at maybe 90 to 100 words per minute. I enjoyed my contact with both of them; my guess is that they would have gotten along better with each other if they’d been more aware that their communication breakdown suffering primarily because of speed. The New Yorker’s speed to the Alabaman was rude and rushed. The Alabaman to the New Yorker was unfocused and a dim bulb.

They needed to notice the other persons style was drastically different and adapt to it, or notice it and pay attention to it. Neither seemed to have much sensory acuity for picking up the details of the differences between them. Learning to pace someone’s sound and tempo can be easy with a bit of practice; it usually is easier to slow the rate of speech down than it is to speed it up. But with patience, with practice, you can master this rapport building skill of slowing down or speeding up your speech to match the person you are interacting with at that time.

(to be continued…)


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