Success Tips for Communicating Effectively

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What kind of communicator are you?

Have you ever been around someone whose energy was contagious? You know those people? The ones who, when they talk, people just seem to listen and hold on to every word they are saying?

Well – here’s a little secret. These people, whether intentional or not – have mastered the art of communication.  And so can you!

Working with people every single day has allowed me the ability to study how we are as social beings, and why some people – no matter how much we try – just don’t seem to “get” what we are trying to say.  The good news is, that by understanding that we are all unique and that each of us have a different way of communicating, you will start to identify with your natural style and learn how to adapt and modify it to match others.  

Much of the research that we have seen has looked at rapport as an important factor to communication.   We know that people do business with people they like, know and trust, so building rapport with your clients and prospects is going to be key in building a relationship with them.  

Communication is made up of three parts; Words, Voice and Physiology.  You may find it surprising to learn that your words make up only 7% of communication, with voice making up 38% and physiology the remaining 55%.  What does this mean when we are looking at effective communication and building rapport? Simply put and generally speaking, it means that what you say holds less weight than how you say it, but, how the person receives it is truly where communication begins.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you think you’ve communicated something clearly, but the person on the receiving end just doesn’t seem to “get” it? George Bernard Shaw once said that “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.  Just because we have said something clearly, doesn’t mean that the person on the receiving end understood.  And isn’t that important? 

Experts in this field of study have categorized people into types of communicators, with a focus on three main ones.  Visual Communicators, Auditory Communicators and Kinesthetic Communicators. We are in fact all three, but there will be one area, much like how we have a dominant hand, where we tend to communicate most like. Each of these three groups has common characteristics, and becoming aware of what those are, will not only help you learn to communicate more effectively, but will ultimately help you build better rapport with your clients and prospects.  

Visual communicators

Visual communicators are those people who learn and absorb information through their visual senses.  They prefer to “see” information rather than hear it.

Visual communicators will tend to look upwards and to the side, speak rapidly and have high energy levels.  This is mainly due to the fact that visual information is quicker to process. Visual communicators love visual information! So, when you are in a presentation, you will want to include visually pleasing aids such as photographs, graphs, and charts.  They want to see the services you are selling, not just hear about them.  A word of caution though – don’t get so caught up in the visual presentation that you forget to make eye contact.  Visual communicators rely on details, and your eye contact will draw their attention to you and what is important for them.  

How to tell if your client or prospect is a visual communicator? One easy way is to listen to what words they choose When they give responses or ask questions, they will usually say things like “I can picture….” or will respond to statements with “I see…”.  

Here’s a list of phrases and words that you may want to include in your presentations or conversations with visual communicators:  Look, see, picture, imagine, take a peek etc.

Auditory Communicators

Auditory communicators are those people that learn and absorb information through their auditory senses.  They love to hear what you and others have to say about your services. They much prefer dialogue over watching a video or slideshow.  The key with auditory communicators is to speak – and then listen! When you speak and wait – you give them a chance to process what they have heard and allow them a chance to respond.  Doing this will allow them to guide your presentation towards what matters to them. When you are speaking with auditory people – your voice holds the greatest amount of weight. That means you need to practice and be sure you are using proper tonality and pitch.  It means making sure that your voice is neither to loud nor too soft, and that your pace is neither too fast nor too slow.

People in general are huge fans of storytelling and this is especially true for auditory communicators.  This is actually one of the driving forces behind some of the marketing campaigns we see today. It’s about sharing impactful stories of who you are, why you do what you do and give examples of how you have helped others.  It’s more than just stats about how many homes you sell or how you are #1 in your marketplace. Auditory communicators want to hear about the experience and the stories you share are far more impactful to them than numbers and stats.  

How to tell if your client or prospect is an auditory communicator? Their eyes will tend to shift from side to side (ear to ear) while you speak, as they focus on absorbing what you are saying. Because auditory information requires a moderate amount of time to process, you will notice that the speed at which auditory communicators talk is also at a moderate speed. Auditory communicators will tend to use words and phrases such as “It sounds like…” or “ I hear what you are saying…”.

Here’s a list of phrases and words that you may want to include in your presentations or conversations with auditory communicators:  hear, listen, tune-in, resonate, that sounds like a plan, does that sound good to you..… to name a few.

Kinesthetic Communicators

Kinesthetic communicators are those people that learn and absorb information through feeling.  They tend to be the slowest talkers or slower to respond, because of the amount of time it takes for them to absorb the information, determine what they’re feeling, and then respond.

Kinesthetic communicators work best when they are face to face as it allows them to absorb your words, your body language and your eye contact.  When communicating with this group, it is important to remember that emotion is a key factor in influencing them. They need to experience what you are saying, and when possible, would love to get involved.  These are the people that you want to take “window shopping” when looking at homes. It gives them a chance to feel what it’s like to sit in the kitchen or what it feels like to walk the neighbourhood.  

How to tell if your client or prospect is a kinesthetic communicator? They will tend to look down and to the right as they need to feel what they are saying.  They will also use words and phrases like “It feels so cozy…” or “I feel like …”

Here’s a list of phrases and words that you may want to include in your presentations or conversations with kinesthetic communicators:  grasp, feel, tap into, get a handle on, follow your gut, does this feel right?  how do you feel?

Identifying how your client or prospect learns best is important when trying to establish rapport and build trust.  So what happens when you can’t identify how your client or prospect learns best? Try mirroring and matching. Remember that game when you were younger called “monkey”.  You would imitate what the person in front of you was doing… Well it’s kind of like that – just not as obvious.

Mirroring and matching is a proven way to help build rapport.  The brain picks up on familiar things and when things seem familiar, people are more at ease and comfortable.  When you are comfortable, you are more open. When you are more open, you…. You get the idea.

Here’s a few simple ways to start engaging in mirroring and matching.  

Mirror words

Try responding with the words that the client or prospect uses.  If they say something like “ I feel like its best we wait….” – you could respond with something like “I sense your hesitation and ….”

Mirror actions

If your prospect is sitting up straight and leaned forward, you should sit up straight and lean forward.  If they are more relaxed, arms crossed, you take on a similar body posture.

Again, the goal of mirroring and matching is to send feedback to the brain that you and the situation are familiar to them.  

Using a few of the techniques I’ve shared with you will help to get you started on becoming more aware of who you are speaking to, so you can tailor your message to them.  It’s not what you say, but how the person is receiving it. That is effective communication. And that is how you begin to build rapport. Have you been able to identify what type of communicator you are? Knowing how you best communicate will also help you understand when and how you should change your approach so that your message is heard, seen and felt loud and clear!