It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. A pretty well-known saying, right? A statement like this couldn’t be truer, yet so wrong at the same time. Effective communication, persuasion, and relationship building are all parts of being able to not only say the right thing but say it the right way.
WHAT YOU SAY Let’s look at a couple of examples. “If you could call me back at …” -Or- “I can be reached at…”
“Please let me know if this works for you…” -Or- “Which of these work better for you…”
Which of these is more effective? You are basically saying the same thing, so what’s the difference? The difference is slight but it sends a powerful subconscious message. The first sentence in each of these examples is less effective because the language indicates the recipient has a choice of whether or not to respond by using the word if. On the other hand, if you use language that indicates you expect a response or that you’ll follow up if you don’t receive a response, you are much more likely to get one.
The message here is to choose your words carefully, both when speaking and writing. The words you choose say so much about you and will vary depending on the situation. You should adjust the intensity of your words to fit the occasion or subject matter.
HOW YOU SAY IT Just as you have to be aware of what words you choose, it is equally as important to choose an appropriate tone. The tone and emphasis with which you say something will help determine the type of response you get. If you work in sales I’m sure you will agree that speaking confidently to what you are selling is directly proportional to your sales. Adversely you do not want to be over-confident as this typically comes across as being arrogant. There is a fine line to walk when it comes to confidence and arrogance and you want to be sure not to cross it.
When choosing your tone, not only should you be mindful of the situation and topic but also your audience. If you are talking to somebody that gives short responses you do not want to be unfocused or overly familiar in your questions or answers. Likewise, if you are speaking to somebody who is extremely personable and a little unfocused, you need to help refocus their attention. But, be sure to adopt their more casual and personable style of communication.
Mastering these skills will help you be successful in the business world as well as in your personal life. If you are having problems communicating with others in either world take a step back and evaluate these few things. Your communication problems may be easier to fix than you thought.