“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Maya Angelou got it spot on. The messages we send out into the world through the interactions of our lives are comprised 55% of body language, 38% of our tone of voice, and only 7% of the words that we use. Think about that for a moment: how we are perceived by others is more affective than what we actually say.
And yet, when we think about being a great communicator, we often forget about the people listening to us and focus entirely on ourselves. “I want to feel more confident,” so many of us say. And of course that’s a priority. Feeling at home in our bodies, trusting our voices to carry our message clearly, speaking our mind with ease and accuracy, are essential components of confident communication.
But we mustn’t forget the other side of confidence: to be great at your job and to have beautiful relationships, you need to instil confidence in others. Your listeners must feel that you are trustworthy, competent and clear. They need to relax in your presence and when you speak to be able to receive your message. They should feel confident in you and in your abilities. That is to say, effective communication is largely about how you make other people feel, just as Maya said.
So, although it might seem counter-intuitive, great communication is often less about you than you think. In fact, great communication is giving the gift of preparation, clarity, goodwill and presence to the recipients of your message in such a way that they are sure about the high calibre of your abilities, and that they can trust you with their undivided attention.
People will indeed remember how you made them feel. Let that memory be one that instils their confidence in you.
By Nicola Jurgens (Facilitator, Confident Communicator®)