Communicating with Charisma


Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

We communicate in both gesture and word and this is an important truth in communication because sometimes our gestures can be in conflict with our words. And when we are communicating with others on the platform or even on a one-on-one setting, this can become a hindrance to the message that we are carrying.

About 93% of communication is communicated through body language. Albert Mehrabian found that recipients of a message decoded the message through emotions that were underlying what was being said, and looked primarily to gestures 55 percent of the time, the tone of the speaker’s voice 38 percent of the time, and the content 7 percent of the time. There are far-reaching implications with this. Firstly, what is seen creates a greater impact than what is heard. A conflicting gesture to the contents will signal more strongly visually then the words that are articulated.
In that sense, if a communicator is talking about being open and having an open-minded leadership in the organisation, and he is folding his arms all the while as he is speaking to the entire company, it sends a conflicting signal to his audience who are likely to interpret it as an insincere speech.

How do you overcome your personal communication barriers to become a charismatic communicator?

1. Deliberate act as if you are on-camera all the time.  This will push you to be conscious of what you say and how you say it. This forces you not to leave things to chance and your emotions to get the better of you.

2. Work to synchronise what you say and how you say it. Let your gestures be in sync with your speech. Practice smiling, speaking aloud, controlling the tone of your voice. Tell stories. Think of how you would want your message to be received, both in speech and in actions. People immediately ascribe intent to the gestures that they see. So work on your intent of your statement and the gesture will flow naturally.

3. Be tactful and learn how to be politically-correct. There will be times that you will be put on a spot. Becoming excellent with spontaneity as a leader requires practice. Practice those moments in private so that you will learn how to respond well publicly. It is a challenge to be authentic and politically-correct at times, but that is much required of a leader. People equate expressiveness with authenticity so be conscious of your emotions and how you display them.

BLM. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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One thought on “Communicating with Charisma

  1. Communicating with Charisma hits home with me. In the work I do with organizations, I almost always begin with the question, “What is, in your opinion, the single biggest problem in the organization?” The response are surprisingly consistent. Senior management almost always speaks to poor productivity and efficiency in the employee base. Everyone else, below senior management identifies poor communication. Of course, most everyone means communication from the top down. The “top” is anyone above them in the organization. The reality is most often poor communication is the straw that breaks the camels back. When an organization is dysfunctional, communication is almost always horrific. But, the communication problem isn’t a one-way street; just from top-down. Up flow is equally poor, “up communication” and “up management” are equally ineffective.

    It is interesting to me how often, in seriously dysfunctional organizations, face-to-face dialogs have been pervasively supplanted by emails. It isn’t just that emails have taken over in these organizations. Bad emails have taken over. Bad in every way: bad content, bad construction, bad intention, bad reaction and bad consequence. Part of my schema in any organization’s reinvention is a systematic demotion of email as the priority communications tool. We shift dynamics and behaviors, always going face-to-face (most cues as the author pointed out). If that can’t be accomplished in a reasonable time (depending on the criticality of the communication), the phone is made the second best choice (second highest number of cues). Then we work down the list: emails, notes, SMS and finally, written memo or letter.

    We actually, being reviewing and auditing the emails that were sent in the organization for Intent versus Impact. This exercise is hugely informative and, quite often, surprising for all involved, Senders and Receivers.

    Thanks for the article, Dr. Ed

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