Monday, May 15, 2017

Express Your WARMTH When Communicating


The importance of effective communication is demonstrated by the many articles and books written on the subject. Recently, I have been reflecting on the possibility of reducing effective communication to a simple formula or acronym to help a person remember everything that is important. The result is the title and substance of this post. With an acronym, we frequently are more able to think through important communications in advance and make sure we are addressing all the considerations for effective communication.

Express your WARMTH when communicating:
Wear a smile
An open posture
Rise and lean forward
Make eye contact
Territorial zones/touch
Head-nodding

Wear a smile – A smile is one of the strongest communication tools. You don’t have to spend the entire time grinning like an idiot, but there is nothing quite as infectious as sharing a smile. Dale Carnegie said, “It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

An open posture – Keep an open body position. Closing up your body profile—becoming smaller—looks like you lack confidence. If you keep your arms folded, you appear to be defending yourself against the other person’s communication.

Rise and lean forward – Your posture should be upright but not stiff. Don’t slouch; but don’t sit like you’re at military attention. Stay relaxed and lean forward a bit.

Make eye contact – Your eye contact is the single most effective indicator that you’re involved in the conversation. By avoiding eye contact, you appear anxious, uninterested and bored. Your eyes always talk and provide valuable cues as to your approachability.

Territorial zones/touch – Find the appropriate balance of distance; too close invades personal space, while too far may seem like you’re not interested. Is the communication formal enough for an office or would you be better off meeting in a coffee shop?

Head-nodding – There is plenty of research into the part nodding plays in communication. Nodding tells the speaker that you are listening and that they should continue to speak. If you increase the speed of your nodding, it signals you are ready to speak.

A Parting Thought
It is tempting to think of effective communication as the job of leaders, managers, and supervisors. While it is their job, it is not theirs alone. Effective communication is everyone's job. It builds trust, teamwork, and high-performing organizations. If culture drives an organization, effective communication is the fuel.

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1 comment:

  1. Well said, the emotional aspect of communication is important. I would also like to emphasize making communication clear (explicit) and I wrote a post about that:

    https://blog.deming.org/2013/05/effective-communication-is-explicit/
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