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How Affective Is Your Communication?

Empowering Extraordinary

When we are no longer able to change a situation,

we are challenged to change ourselves.”

                                                             ~ Victor Frankl

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]W[/su_dropcap]E ARE ALL FAMILIAR with the Charlie Brown cartoons where, when the adults speak, the only sound the children hear is “wah wah wah wah wah.” I always thought that was clever, until I experienced this first hand when I was scolding my 4 year old daughter. I was reprimanding her and explaining to her why her behavior was unacceptable. Somewhere in my diatribe, I noticed that she had a glazed look in her eye, so I stopped. There was a moment of silence as we stared at one anther and then she said, “Momma, when you talk to me like that, all I hear is wah wah wah wah wah.”

UntitledWhat a shock! I thought I was doing a really good job of talking to my daughter in hopes that she would understand why she should not repeat such and such behavior. I wondered when she quit hearing me so that I could back up and start from where I lost her. The longer I thought of where to begin again, I realized that maybe she never heard a word I said. I even wondered where she had heard wah wah wah wah wah, is this universal?

What I am describing is one aspect of emotional intelligence (EI). It is the interpersonal relationships component of how we communicate to others and interpret their non-verbal cues. Being high in this area enhances communication and interpersonal connection; and it creates quality relationships. I like to refer to this aspect as social intelligence. This is the area where we are able to read people, understand their expressions, noticing if their eyes are glazing over like my daughters did that day so long ago.

Missing the non-verbal cues happens all too often in the work place. Have you ever found your-self wondering why something did not get done the way you expected, even after explaining it thoroughly?

How many times have you finished talking with someone or with your team and left the conversation feeling satisfied that “they understand, now they get it,” only to discover later that they missed the point, the criteria you laid out, or what was really important? As George Bernard Shaw wrote:

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Instead of getting frustrated, you have an opportunity to reconsider an aspect of your communication that can be difficult – the aspect of reading other people, their emotions, whether they are tracking your conversation or not. Questions to ponder are:

~ How do you know if you are communicating affectively?

~ How and what are you communicating?

~ What are some signals that let you know the person or team is with you?

~ What action can you take to find out if everyone is on board with

   where you are in your presentation and registering the key points?

~ From past experience, who in team seems to lag in performance? Is it a performance issue or something else? Are they losing track somewhere along the conversation?

Exploring questions like these can open you up to become curious about your interpersonal communication style and the cues you might be missing.

Making things better can often be as simple as being aware of your body language, your words, your emotions behind the words, and by being aware of the other persons’ body language and the nuances of their non-verbal cues. What is required is authentic listening.

If this is an area that needs development, the first step is to gain insight into what you might not be picking up on during the conversation. The next step is to ask yourself, how motivated are you in delving into and strengthening your interpersonal skills? It often requires a seasoned professional to help point out the areas that need strengthening and exploring how to make the shift. Taking the EQi 2.0 is a valuable assessment to learn about your interpersonal skills. The result of looking into this aspect of emotional intelligence can be improved communication that improves the quality of relationships and that can have an impact on success.

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Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.
Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.http://www.successstartswithyou.net/
Melinda Fouts, Ph. D., International Executive Coach, Psychotherapist is a select Columnist & Featured Contributor for BIZCATALYST 360° and a Member of the Forbes Coaches Council (comprised of Top coaches offering insights on leadership development & careers), and founder of Success Starts with You. She was recently chosen to receive the Empowered Woman of the Year Award for 2021 given by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). She also received the honor as the top international coach of the year in 2020 by the IAOTP. She provides visionary leadership in her field and her many credentials prove she has the ability to empower women worldwide. Her exemplary role as a female professional in a male-dominated industry displays her influence, capability, and proficiency. Inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an honor in itself, only a few women are chosen for this distinction based on their years of experience, professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, and contributions to their communities. With innovation and compassion, these women empower others to reach their goals, while creating change for future generations. With over 2 decades of professional experience as a business coach and psychotherapist, Dr. Fouts has proven herself as an accomplished professional and expert in the field. As a dynamic, results-driven leader, Dr. Fouts has demonstrated success not only as an Executive Business Coach, but in every role she has held. Prior to executive coaching and leadership development, Melinda has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for over 20 years. She leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness. Owner and founder of Success Starts with You, is based upon the premise that you are already successful. Increasing self-awareness to increase emotional intelligence and unlocking blind spots are paramount to continued success. Dr. Fouts leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness and discovering their blind spots. It can be lonely at the top and as a thought partner, she makes sure you are not alone. Dr. Fouts’ unique approach from other business coaches is that she helps get rid of thinking and behavioral patterns that tend to keep executives stuck. Her key areas of expertise include but are not limited to: small business consulting, enhancing emotional intelligence, self-awareness, unlocking fullest potential, brainstorming, identifying limitations, challenges, obstacles and optimizing performance. In addition, her successful career as a Psychotherapist and International Executive Business Coach, Dr. Fouts is a sought-after speaker whose key-note address to Women’s Leadership Conferences is Channeling Feminine Power in the Face of Adversity. Her newly released book, Cognitive Enlightenment, was to be presented at the London Book Fair, March 2020, the NY Book Fair, May 2020, and the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2020 until COVID hit. Melinda received her Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology from Saybrook University and her Masters in Psychology from Pacifica University. Melinda has worked as a consultant with executives and businesses for over 20 years. As a result of her experience and studies, she has developed a unique craft to fine-tune leadership development for peak performance. She lives in Colorado with her big, beautiful dog, Stryder. For more information on Dr. Fouts please visit: www.successstartswithyou.net

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2 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Communication is as old as the first people so doesn’t it seem like we should be pros at it by now? Your points are all valid- listening, body language, eye contact, cues of that aha moment – one of the greatest assets to communication, I think, is interest. Do the people involved in the communication want to know? Are they interested? Most of the time, we have to know even if we aren’t interested. Overcome that and you’re one step closer to true communication.

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