22/01/2012

By Gavin Meikle, Head of Learning and Founder of inter-activ

We all know that our face to face communication is made up of three key components, words, vocal tonality and body language. But were you aware that the key element of effective communication is “congruence” or the way that those three channels can support each other to send the same message?

I’m sure you can remember a time when you have heard somebody speak and thought “I just don’t believe them.” You probably couldn't put your finger on why you felt this way but something was just not right.

This is an example of a lack of congruence, when the different communications are sending conflicting messages. An all to familiar example is when your child says that they have tidied their room but the hesitancy in their voice and the avoidance of eye contact makes you sure that they are telling lies.

This doesn’t just apply to children. As a manager, salesperson or trainer, your audiences are picking up on all these subtle signals and if they don't send a congruent message people won’ t believe what you are saying.

So what can you do to improve your congruence?

1. Be as honest as you can as often as you can

2. Think about how you are going to say it was well as what you are going to say

3. Seek out a trustworthy coach or mentor to give you accurate and specific feedback

4. Speak more slowly and clearly

5. Make sufficient eye contact with your audience

6. Set the intention to be more congruent.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.


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