Do you know when you marginalize others?
If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.
This is also true if you want to get a job.
Savvy employers know poor communication skills hamper efficiency and productivity.
Whatever the situation, it’s important to understand why communication is working or not.
Enter speaking Eric Stone, a former New York City stage and television actor, who operates Speakers and Artists International, Inc. (www.publicspeakingconnection.com) in Beverly Hills, Calif.
He says there are three levels of depth in communication, or what he also calls “levels of truth.”
Level one – tone and meaning
“The first level is what people say or what is heard through voice tone and immediate translation of the tone into meaning,” asserts Mr. Stone. “It is the most simple and, in a sense, most superficial level of interaction.”
How can it be superficial?
“If you actually asked someone to repeat to you what you just said every time you uttered something to them, you’d be very entertained and astounded as to how little was actually understood – and we’re only at level one,” he says.
Level two – attitude
Mr. Stone describes the second level as the mood or attitude with which people speak.
“You could also say the mood that arises from the feelings and emotions that are present while the exchange is happening,” he says. “The mood and attitude is behind the words. Think of it as a frequency or vibration within the tone of voice that emanates from the speaking.”
So, in a disagreement, keep your voice low. Avoid pointing fingers and using labels, which marginalize others.
Level three – judging others
“The third level is the intentions behind the speaking, tone and mood, which act as the fundamental motivation and direction of the communication,” Mr. Stone explains.
He says people begin judging others as soon as they say hello.
“It means we hear the words or general tone someone is using and we start interpreting what we think it means right away,” he notes. “If speakers and listeners alike could focus more on intentions and less on words themselves or the moods behind them, they would improve their effectiveness dramatically.”
“Once you take the time to see through and past words and moods, you begin to get people’s intentions,” says the coach. “You end up seeing more and hearing more about what is being communicated. It’s a quite comfortable process that will help you relax.”
He says “intentions are the keys to the kingdom of effortless natural communication and expression.”
“Children, when not stressed out, demonstrate it superbly,” he says. “Even when you play-act with them, they watch your intentions like little hawks and that’s how they figure you out if your play-acting is not seamless.”
Mr. Stone says people run “conscious and unconscious scripts” in their brains.
“Those get revealed through subtle body language, actions, and facial expressions are far less contained in words being spoken,” he says. “Even though unconscious motives are harder to spot, a keen eye, ear and intuitive attunement to frequency focused on intentions behind words and attitudes, will reveal a great deal.”
As an example, he says a touch you receive from a person gives you clues, such as: “I like you, I want to control you, I welcome you, I’m counting on you, and a score of other intentional motives.”
Hmm. When I touch my beloved Alaskan Husky, Theodore, I hope he knows how much I care about him. When he devotedly lays at my feet while I work, he certainly knows my intentions when I head for the small kitchen in my office — dog treats!
From the Coach’s Corner, more from Mr. Stone:
Public Speaking Tips – for Speeches in Accepting Awards, Honors — So you’re about to be honored for your pro bono work, volunteerism, or for creating a foundation to fund scholarships for education. But you get stage fright or don’t know how to most-effectively frame your acceptance speech? Join the crowd. A lot of people have difficulty in public speaking.
Maximize Your Speaking with the Power of Pauses — Have you ever noticed why some people succeed as powerful public speakers? One salient reason is they know how to use the power of pauses.
Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw