Updated: Jul 26, 2020
The way in which we communicate plays a huge role in our relationships, our interactions and life experiences. Our communication with self (internal dialogue) also plays a role in our we perceive our experiences. There are many layers to our how we interact with others and the world including the language we use, our non-verbal cues, level of emotional intelligence, gender, role and lived experiences. Let’s dive in and explore how some of these areas show up in your life.
The way we speak (verbal) and how our bodies portray what we are saying (non-verbal) are the big players in communication.
Language and the way we use it impacts our verbal communication. I’m not getting into grammar or spelling here don’t worry! I’m talking about the type of words we choose. Tony Robbins has done a lot of work in this area and has shown that the words we use, have profound effects on our experience of reality. How we describe our emotions can either disempower or empower us. Consider how you have interacted throughout your day so far. What did you say when someone asked you how your day was? Did you use words like “OK”, “not bad” or did you select language like “incredible”, “just doesn’t get any better”. You may notice just by reading these responses, you can feel a difference in your experience.
Our words shape our beliefs and impact our actions. Words we use as a culture and as individuals have a profound effect on our experience of reality – Tony Robbins
The words we choose to communicate our emotions to others and to self (internally) impacts our experience. You may choose words like “failed”, “I hate”, “overwhelmed”, “rejected” to describe the way you’re feeling. You may do this unconsciously, without being aware. However, changing your vocabulary to something more empowering such as “I’m growing”, “I prefer”, “challenged”, “misunderstood” may result in a reduction in the intensity of our perceived experience. Choosing more empowering words also changes how others respond to you. Someone may absorb your energy and feel uplifted when you respond with “I’m feeling energised” instead of “OK”. It’s amazing how a word swap can actually make a difference in our lives and how we interact with others.
How we describe our emotions can either empower or disempower. - Tony Robbins
The other side to communication is nonverbal and it’s happening constantly. It shows up in: gesture, facial expression, tone of voice, body position and energy. I am sure you are aware of the phrase “it’s not what you say but how you say it”. We receive a lot of information beyond the use of wards. In fact, 90 percent or more of an emotional message is non-verbal (Goleman, D 1995).
Let’s consider the phrase “how are you?” again. If you did this as you passed by another without stopping for a response, the person may feel ignored or like you’re not wanting to engage with them. Let’s flip this and now you ask “how are you?” whilst also opening your arms wide, actively moving towards them, increasing your tone, with a huge smile and eye contact. Does this feel more engaging? Does this feel like a hug from a long lost friend? This simple example shows that changing our body, can alter how we interact with our world and how others respond.
90 percent or more of an emotional message is non-verbal - Daniel Goleman
Now, the next time you engage in the greeting conversation of how are you – consider your role in the asking and response. See how the simple changes above can impact how others interact and how you feel in your daily experience. Make communication fun and revel in the outcomes!
Goleman, D 1995 “Emotional Intelligence”, Bloomsbury Publishing, London.