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The Secrets of Effective Communication

The Secrets of Effective Communication

The Secrets of Effective Communication

There are three secrets laws of effective communication.

  1. Your words have the power to create images in the mind of your listeners/readers.
  2. Therefore, you should use words in a way that the images they create correspond exactly to the images that you intended.
  3. Recognise that every image carries with it, a set of emotions.

1. Your words have the power to create images in the mind of your listeners/readers.

If you want to improve your communication skills, then the single most important thing to understand is everything you say, stimulates the mind of the listener to create a mental image.

For example, if I say the word, "house" you will image a house, in your mind's eye.

If I say the word, "dog", an image of a dog appears in your mind.

Even abstract words create images in the mind. If I say the word, Justice, what image appears in your mind?

From this principle that words create mental images, we move to two additional laws of communication.

2. You should use words so the images they evoke correspond exactly to the images that you intended.

It is important to recognise that the person you are talking to is continually printing out images in their mind, caused by your words.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, the question you need to ask yourself is; "Are the images being printed in their mind, the ones that correspond exactly to what I wanted, or not?"

For example, if I say, "Don't put the coffee on the table", does the listener have a mental image of the proper place to put the coffee? Answer, NO.

Therefore, you would be better off saying, "To save the table from being damaged, would you please put the coffee on the coaster."

Now the listener understands exactly what you want and why.

Think carefully about how you word your message and do all you can to specify, not what you don't want, but rather, exactly what you DO want.

3. Recognise that every image carries with it a set of emotions.

Everything you say creates an image, and every image, triggers emotions. Sometimes strong emotions. And you are in the business of affecting emotions.

For example if I said, "spider!", you would image a spider, and you would have some kind of emotional association to the spider-image.

Depending on your personality you may feel anxious merely at the thought of a spider. (Other people not so much).

The point is; words create mental images, and mental images create emotions.

Your task is to use words to evoke the images that will create the feeling you WANT to convey.

Political leaders use language specifically designed to evoke an emotional responses.

For example, we hear about "The UK crashing out without a deal"

You hear phrases such as, "Going for gold"

You hear leaders use evocative language that are designed to create images that evoke strong feelings.

Your task as a communicator is to practice the art of using evocative language and think carefully about what images will create the emotions you are seeking to inspire.

Equally, you need to avoid using words that will trigger emotions, that will work counter to your intentions.

For example, if the salesperson says to a prospective customer, "Great stuff! Now to finalise the deal, all you must do is to sign the contract on the dotted line, here".

The salesperson has now triggered a fear response and the prospect, says, "Oh, let me think it over for a while. I was told never to sign a contract until you've gone over the small print. You've probably got something in the small print I wont like. I will call you back in two weeks after I've had time to check this out with my partner."

The salesman talked himself out of the sale by accidentally using fear inducing words.

He could have said, "If you will just authorise the paperwork, I will get straight on it and you will have your wonderful new machine installed by the end of week and I know you will just love how it will make your life easier!"

Can you see and feel the difference between the two sets of words? If yes, then today you have discovered the secret of effective communication.

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