Interpersonal Communication: What Is Said And left Unsaid, And All The Nuances In Between.
Amidst the current chaos, interpersonal communication can appear to be an insurmountable feat. From the stresses of the pandemic, to a struggling economy, to a chaotic world, it can seem that no matter what you attempt, your message simply cannot be heard. You may try all the tips and tricks in the book, but how do you get your point across? How do you make sure that you are being heard? This piece seeks to provide an understanding of the nuances that are often lost in conversations. It looks at what can be done to ensure these subtle meanings are not overlooked. Here are some examples that illustrate the points made.
Build trust with rapport.
Building trust through rapport is like a dance – it requires delicate movements, knowing when to move in and when to pull away. Words are just one aspect of the process – smiles, hugs, and handshakes can be just as powerful in establishing a connection. Let’s say you notice your colleague wearing a similar dress or a pair of glasses and immediately use this commonality as an entryway to start the conversation, offering her a compliment. She looks embarrassed, so you shift the topic to her children while gesturing toward the framed photos. But she’s still not responding as you’d anticipated – almost like she’s putting up an invisible wall between the two of you. So you decide to give her an invitation to coffee, giving her one last chance to warm up to you. But your colleague walks away. However, your efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. As you’re exiting the building, you realize that your cars are parked next to each other with a mutual chuckle escaping your lips – and it’s at this moment that she finally starts to let down her guard.
She agrees to meet for a glass of wine at the Italian bistro nearby. Building trust is a sensitive process, requiring a gentle hand and an awareness of subtle cues. It might be tough to start, but never give up. Stick with it and eventually, that unfriendly demeanor will turn into an open heart.
Win with the follow-up.
One word – follow-up. It might seem obvious, but how often do you reach out to your boss after they’ve criticized your work? Chances are, not often. Criticism and rejection can be tough to swallow, but by following up, you can demonstrate your worth to your boss. Don’t just avoid them; invite them to see you in action over and over again. And if the situation is tense, bring a third person in to moderate–just make sure it’s someone who’s willing to champion you on. As a woman in the workforce, it’s key to have supporters backing you up; send weekly or biweekly performance reports to someone who will ensure higher chances of job security. Demonstrate your power, and watch the magic happen.
Get ahead by actively listening.
Your mother always said it’s important to listen, but she forgot to tell you to repeat her word for word. Let’s illustrate this with a communication with an investor. Say the investor says, “I’m interested to learn how you’re turning a profit.” You respond with, “What I heard you say was that you’re interested to learn how I am turning a profit; is that correct?” When the investor confirms their question, you’ve demonstrated that you were listening – and you’ve served as their sounding board. This technique is known as active listening and it works to slow down conversations between two people. It might seem tedious, but it prevents any errors or miscommunication between the two parties – especially if the investor or client is paying for the conversation.
Solicit advice like a pro.
We give unsolicited advice as often as we think about sex: without even noticing. But what if we chose to ask for permission first? Imagine, “Would you like to hear my thoughts about that?” This simple request can break down walls and show respect in moments of power struggles, between romantic partners or even just friends. In this way, couples can find common ground faster and build a safe, secure relationship. It’s the key to a captivating connection.
Celebrate the non-verbal cues.
Cherish those silent moments. We often neglect those meaningful gestures that come and go in the course of our lives. How about taking a walk hand in hand around the lake, smiling? Taking your dog for a stroll through the forest, or wandering down the city streets with coffee in your hand and your little one looking up at the birds – these are all forms of communication that deserve to be celebrated. In fact, 80% of communication is non-verbal – it’s the sudden pinch on the shoulder from your lover, or when your finger wiggles in the air, or when a spontaneous skip down the street takes over you. Take note of these moments, for they are priceless and will stay etched in your memory forever.
Negotiate win-win situations.
Negotiation starts with the universal truth that everyone wants to be heard and accepted. Consider the times when you’ve had to negotiate with your family. You had your wish list but also thought through the possible objections. Here’s a surefire process that’s proven to work: listen. By giving full attention to your loved one, you show a genuine interest in understanding what they’re going through. When it comes to negotiating, listening is priority one. You don’t want to rush things because it makes people feel unheard and erodes the trust we’ve established. Your aim is to recognize what matches their needs and make them feel secure enough to express what they want. This is known as the Platinum Rule – treat others the way they want to be treated – a step above the Golden Rule of treating others as you want to be treated.
Unveiled at our upcoming Online event on Interpersonal Communication ‘How To Get What You Want,’ you’ll learn the foundations of managing effective vocal tones, recognizing non-verbal cues, restructuring difficult conversations, and adapting strategies that have been tested in intelligence interrogations. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity – register now!
Alice Hlidkova is a copywriter and blog curator at Women World.