Communication is complex, especially when meeting face to face. That’s when you need to stay alert and take a deeper look at how they are talking with you. In this post, I cover 3 ways to step back and really look at what is being said and 3 ways to check your assumptions so you dig deeper and get at the truth of what is really being said.
Can you remember a time when a colleague said” That’s a great idea. I absolutely will support you in making this project a success.”
And right at that moment, you felt a twinge in your gut and you knew, you just KNEW they were blowing smoke.
I bet you smiled and thanked them for their willingness to cooperate, And yet, something was definitely off, not computing on your BS detector.
And days, or maybe a week later, you were right. What happened? Remember how they said the right words, looked you straight in the eye with those perfect words. However, they never followed through. Or you hear through the grapevine that they made fun of you, calling your idea outlandish or stupid or a waste of energy.
This happens all the time, communication is complex. You want to believe. You want the help and comradery. Yet, something doesn’t add up, it’s out of kilter.
Let me peel this back for you.
When you are speaking face to face you need to be alert. In effect, to become a mind reader, in a manner of speaking. You need to listen with your ears, your eyes, your heart and your gut.
What an individual says is a translation of their inner thoughts. Be suspicious, be curious, be careful.
Communication is complex. I will be discussing this in detail in my webinar later this month.
Here are some important ways of looking at what happens when someone talks with you:
- Tonality makes up about 40 percent of what is being said. Ever hear anyone say, “I love my job” and the monotone makes the words sound like old oatmeal. While the real translation is “I can’t wait for a better offer, so I can get the heck out of here.”
- Too much inflection is also a give- away. When a pleaser says, “You just did the BEST workshop I’ve EVER attended” and then you see that every person gave you the lowest marks, well, ever.
- Eye contact, (silent tonality) can make all the difference. Looking up, down or around you should make you be really careful of what comes out of someone’s mouth. It’s harder to lie looking straight into your eyes. As the saying goes, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”
Becoming sensitive to tonality and eye contact will save you lots of back-end clean-up work to do. If the words sound good to be true, they probably are. If someone is squinting at you or looking away when they talk, there is usually something to hide.
Here’s what to do. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS:
- Ask open-ended questions, the ones that require a full sentence or two and cannot be answered just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
- Dig down and ask several questions and don’t stop if that nagging feeling won’t let go.
- Stay true to yourself and don’t let yourself be swayed by false promises.
In fact, you have every right to tell your truth and say something like “I sense some concern and would like to know what can get in the way of your support for this project.” Then listen to the answer and respond with my three magic words, “Tell me more.”
I promise you will get extremely useful information if you keep the dialogue going. In almost ninety percent of situations, you will uncover the source of the tense tonality or diverted eye contact.
Stop, listen and look. Trust your gut. Yes communication is complex, using these tactics I’ve given you will help to make it less complex. These are ways your leadership skills will flourish. Working on yourself is the best way to work on your career.