by Sally Strackbein
Zippy and I had a chat this morning.
In my best, "Let's play! Let's play!" voice, I told her, "We're having roast leg of Zippy for dinner tonight." Her response was vigorous tail wagging and "Let's play!" behavior. The words didn't matter. My tone of voice and my body language sent a clear message to her, "Let's play!"
Contrast Zippy with a United Airlines customer service representative. Last November, when I arrived at the Houston airport, I spotted a grim looking man behind the customer service counter. No one was in line, so I matched his expression, walked up to him and said, "I got through security OK. Got a seat. The plane was on time. Thank you for a wonderful experience." We both grinned and I said, "I got here. It's a good day." My tone of voice meant nothing. My words delivered my meaning.
In the last week, on three separate occasions, I heard communications professionals state that only 7% of the meaning of communication is in the words and the other 93% is in body language and tone of voice. That may be true if you are communicating with dogs. When you speak to humans, words matter. How you deliver them matters too, but not 93%.
How you state your main point is critical when you want your audience to remember what you said. Think of, "I have a dream," or "Ask not what your country can do for you..." or "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" The words you choose will make your message either dull or powerful.
Words do matter. Choose them wisely.
(Tip: Google "Great Speeches" to read how some of the greats put their words together.)
copyright © Sally Strackbein.
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Sally Strackbein is a consultant, speaker and author.
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