how to be a better listener
I had the pleasure of attending a terrific presentation made by author Russ McDevitt at a recent meeting of our Toastmasters club in Gimli. Russ is not only a talented author, but a life coach and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) specialist.
Here are the highlights from his presentation:
polishing your communication skills
McDevitt told us that there are three primary ways in which people process information:
1. Kinesthetics: people who communicate via their feelings. Kinesthetics tend to speak slower than others and often look down and to the right as they process information. The largest segment of the population are kinesthetics, with 45% of people falling into this category. If you are kinesthetic, you likely uses phrases such as “I feel that”, “I sense that”, “If I understand what you’re saying …”
2. Visuals: people who are most likely to be enticed by a visual message. Visuals tend to speak more quickly than others and are more likely to look you straight in the eye. This is the next largest group, with 35% os us falling into this category. We visuals use phrases such as “I see that”, “It’s clear to see that”, “She’s a sight for sore eyes” …
3. Auditories: people who are more enticed by the sounds around them. As far as speaking speed goes, auditories are in the middle. Auditories tend not to make direct eye contact and are more likely to look to the left or right of who is speaking to them. (Occasionally down and to the left as they process information.) Auditories will likely respond by saying “I hear you”, “Sounds good to me”, “That doesn’t sound right to me”, “That’s music to my ears” …
Kinesthetics would likely respond well to receiving samples in the mail that they can touch, and like to feel the texture of goods before making a purchase or commitment, etc.
Visuals likely respond best to television ads or videos as “seeing is believing.”
Auditories let their ears be their guide and would respond best to a message that includes music or sounds to stimulate their thought processes.
I found it shocking that our choice of words only accounts for 7% of the impact of your presentation. I was equally surprised to learn that body language counts for 55% of the impact we make, and tone of voice impacted the effectiveness of our communications by 38%. So choosing just the right words is not nearly as important when making a presentation as our delivery (body language and tone of voice.) No wonder they say that some salespeople could sell ice to an Eskimo! Some of us are born to sell; others not.
how to be a better listener
Improve your listening skills and try to zero in on which style of communicator your colleague is. If you can quickly identify whether the person you are communicating with is kinesthetic, visual, or auditory, you can tailor your communication style and choice of words to increase your chances of making a connection, sale, or good impression.
Fascinating stuff. Have you been able to determine which one of the three communication styles best describes you? Your partner? Your intended customer? If you are a salesperson, do you use these techniques when trying to make a sale?
I look forward to the conversation, and invite you back here the week of February 3rd for our next new post.