Consider your role a privileged position. You are privy to lots of information. You have contact with your Executives, team members, customers, clients and suppliers.
Even with the current COVID restrictions in place limiting face to face contact, if you take a minute to think about all the people you have connected with today (good old Zoom and Teams and an ever increasing reliance on email!), that’s a pretty impressive list I’m sure. Consider that list over the course of a week – a month – a year – and you’ll realise what a vast “reach” you have to influence and persuade.
In this blog post let’s consider how to communicate persuasively.
Harvard Professor Albert Mehrabian advises us that when engaged in face-to-face communication and sharing our feelings and thoughts we communicate with three key elements. These are the Verbal element (7%), the Vocal element (38%) and the Visual element (55%).
The percentages shown relate to the relative importance of those elements in creating an impactful (persuasive/influential) communication.
The most impactful communication aligns all three elements to deliver a congruent message.
Have a look at those percentages again. This is such an interesting concept to consider given our reliance on written communication and email in particular. Because, of course, with written communication it’s sometimes hard to convey the Vocal element to your message. Our message may be received and read with a different tone of voice than we intended. And, of course, we can’t see the Visuals and what body language or facial expressions are being displayed by the originator of written communication either.
Your challenge is to ensure your written messages are not ambiguous and can only be received in the way you want them to be received. One way to do this is to add contextual or background information to your message. Another strategy is to italicise the words you want to be stressed so the reader uses inflection in their tone of voice to add (the correct!) Vocal meaning, dependent on your agreed office practices of course.
The best, most impactful communication is one that is face to face where all 3 elements can be conveyed, noticed and “listened” to. A challenge at the time of writing is that many face-to-face and “in person” comms have been curtailed by COVID. And indeed even when we are in the same physical space as someone else, wearing a face covering means we could miss some Visual cues as we’ll be masking certain facial expressions. You can’t always “see” a smile in someone’s eyes……
Consider the use of virtual platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams as your next best communication delivery.
Enjoyed this post? You can read Part 4 of The Influential & Persuasive EA, PA & Administrative Professional here!