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Is E-Mail Diluting Your Message?

communicate Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, is the author of Silent Messages. This book discusses his legendary research into the relative importance of verbal and non-verbal communication.

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Mehrabian’s rule

When you’re trying to communicate emotions, think about the three V’s: verbal, vocal, and visual. They are the three parts of what has become known as Mehrabian’s Rule – 7% of your message is given verbally (the words you use), 38% comes vocally (the tone you use), and 55% is delivered visually (your facial expressions and body language).

We see from his research that, when we’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes, the overwhelming majority of the message comes through non-verbally. If the verbal and non-verbal don’t agree, people will rely on the non-verbal.

Choosing your medium

Therefore, understanding the three V’s of communication helps you prevent misunderstanding. If the recipient of your message can’t hear and see you say the words, your message may get diluted.

E-mail is convenient, but it can be easily misunderstood because it’s only words. What about text messages?

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marylynnA friend of mine told me that her husband’s ex-wife texts her husband about problems with their kids. My friend gets frustrated after several rounds of nothing getting solved. She says she tells him to just call his ex-wife.

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So choose your medium carefully if you’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes. Some media only use one part of the communication trio, and a very minor one at that!

If you’re just relaying facts, e-mail is fine. If you want to express more than that, your message may get diluted. A phone call enriches the conversation because you bring in the voice. And while it’s not always possible to meet face-to-face, it is your best bet for your most sensitive communication.

Speaking of which …

Let’s apply this to a presentation, whether your audience is one or many. How you say what you say, and what you do when you say it, are actually more important, in getting your message across, than what you say.

What?

It’s hard to explain this in just words. Hey, that illustrates our point!

You can say, “I’m excited.” If you say it with enthusiasm in your voice while standing straight up, your audience will believe you. If you say it like Droopy says, “I’m happy” and slouch while you’re saying it, your audience may doubt you.

People remember the impression more than the words. So if you want to connect with an audience, it’s important to practice your inflections and your gestures to make sure they’re congruent with your words.

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We really appreciate you reading our post today. If you listened to our show, you could’ve heard our appreciation in our voices! Join us next time when we get a visit from a very special guest – Santa Claus. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Failure to Do This Harms Relationships

Have you ever had a service company just show up at your door even though they told you someone would call first?

Have you ever had a co-worker promise they would get information to you but then drop the ball?

Have you ever asked a sales person to get back to you on a proposal but then they never did?


What was your impression of that company, co-worker, or sales person when they didn’t follow-through?

It probably wasn’t favorable. You realize that you can’t count on them to do what they say they’ll do.
   
Follow-through: an essential element to building your personal brand.
A brand carries with it the promise of expected benefits. Every time a promise is not delivered, the brand suffers.

Promises are easy to make, but not as easy to keep. But if you want to build trust, you have to make good on your promises.

“Say what you’ll do, then do what you say.” Author unknown
 
This separates people who achieve bigg things from people who don’t. Even if it’s just a little thing, you risk leaving the impression that you don’t follow through.

We often have the best of intentions, but it’s impossible to judge someone on their intentions. So we do the only thing we can do – we base our opinions of people on whether they deliver on their promises.

Be careful not to over-promise.

If we surprise someone, we should surprise them in a good way – by doing more than we say we’ll do. It’s not good to disappoint them by doing less than what we say … or not doing it at all.

Today’s bigg action item – Develop a system to record every promise you make.

Do whatever works for you, whether that is an old paper system or something using new technology.

One simple way to do this is Jott. Whenever you make a promise, just call and leave a message about what you need to do. Jott will send you an e-mail or text message reminder. That coupled with your personal calendar can keep you on track. Here’s the best part – Jott is a FREE service.

There are two keys to making any system like this work:

  • Budget a little extra time after each activity.
    This will allow you to write down or record anything you promised.
  • Make it a habit.
    Really focus on using your system every day for the next two weeks.

Or you could do what George does. Mary-Lynn reminds him of his promises. Speaking of which, he has to go pick up the dry cleaning that was ready last week!

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Can You Walk And Chew Gum At The Same Time?

A study at UCLA asked participants to sort index cards with various shapes on them. The researchers divided the participants into two groups:

  • Group 1 sorted their cards with no distractions.
  • Group 2 sorted their cards while listening to, and counting beeps.

The researchers found that the two groups sorted equally well. However, the first group remembered what they sorted better than the second group.

So, something suffers when we multi-task. Doesn’t common sense tell us the same thing?

So why do we all try to do so many things at once?
There are many reasons – because we think we can, we get distracted, we’re bored, maybe we’re really just procrastinating, or perhaps we think it’s a competitive advantage.

The problem is … it’s not productive, because we want to be effective AND efficient.

Multi-tasking can be costly
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that, even with the simplest of tasks, it takes time to mentally switch from one to the other. It may only take a second for your brain to catch up, which doesn’t sound like much. But how many times do we do this in a day? And that’s for the simplest of tasks – more complex tasks can take up to a minute!

Not to mention that, multi-tasking requires us to FOCUS on concentrating rather than ACTUALLY concentrating. It also boosts stress hormones in our brain. So, in the short run, we get less done. In the long run, it’s bad for us.

So are these studies saying that we should NEVER multi-task?

You’ll be happy to know that you can walk and chew gum at the same time, because you’re performing two tasks that have become automatic. You don’t have to think about it anymore!

Many people may argue that checking their e-mail or text messages has become second nature.

But there’s a bigg difference – there’s a second human being in the equation. For the communication to be effective, you have to understand what they said, and what they left unsaid. Then, and only then, can you convey an effective return message.

In other words, you have to THINK!

3 tips to break the addiction

  • Admit that it’s a problem.
    If you don’t see it as a problem, you can’t solve it. This is the first step.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
    Keep one thing in front of you. Everything else should be filed away. If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted. Reward yourself with something you enjoy AFTER you complete each task.
Tell us what you think about multi-tasking!
Share your bigg challenges! Offer your bigg solutions!
Leave us a Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is actually a definition. No one claims it, perhaps for a reason ….

mul•ti-task•ing (mŭl'tē-tăs'kĭng, -tī-) n.
Screwing up everything simultaneously.

So make sure you stay focused so you only screw up one thing at a time!

Next time, we’ll share an ancient Chinese secret to solve all of your problems. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Pages

Have you ever been to BINPAO?

By Bigg Success Staff
09-04-08

Peak Performance

binpao 

Now that all we have to do to visit another country, or even another planet, is double click our mouse, there’s no stopping us Web surfers. And, it’s time to space out, both literally and figuratively.

Millions of Americans, young and old, have diagnosed or undiagnosed attention deficit issues, leaving them with an inability to concentrate. While this is assuredly a serious issue for those with true attention-related conditions, I cannot help but wonder how much BINPAO humans have manufactured using our own devices. I have coined BINPAO here, not only because it looks cool in writing and sounds cool (especially the pow! part), but because it reflects accurately what happens to me when I begin using the Internet and all its related technologies.

BINPAO causes me to switch topics, jump around from place to place and generally. Oh wait, I lost my train of thought. See, with my browser open in several windows, I am able to compose these sentences while simultaneously checking the weather, the news from Iraq, my e-mail and more. I can switch from screen to screen in a millisecond. I can BINPAO – be in nine places at once.  For me, BINPAO is a fascinating concept. I can multitask in entirely new ways. I can be bored with what I am reading on the screen after just three or four sentences, and I can move on by clicking on a link and opening another box with a cute photo of a puppy. lol.  I can skip the really important information of the day and find out what is going on in Hollywood. omg. 

What I cannot do if I choose to enter the state of BINPAO is really get ANYTHING done—at all. I can start all kinds of stuff, just not finish one lick of it.

And studies are popping up all over on the subject of too much multitasking. CFO Magazine in July 2007 reported on multitasking in the workplace. They cite MIT and UCLA studies where researchers concluded that multitaskers do not always optimal learners or workers make. The studies pointed out that while some interruption and multitasking can bring interest to your job, too much is really that: too much. The MIT study found that one can reach a saturation point. Errors increase. Efficiency decreases. The UCLA researchers found that distracted learners still did the learning, but stored the information in different and perhaps less useful locations in the brain.

Ah, but what is an easily distractible gal to do?  It’s like putting a variety of raw meats in a circle around a hungry crocodile. Which one to grab first? Solution? Stop the click-throughs until I’m through and grab one at a time. I am an adult and can choose how long my attention span is. I need to take control of my constant clicking and realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other screen. I need to take time to absorb what’s in front of me before I move on. Maybe I’ll start by moving to the state of BIEPAO – be in eight places at once, and see where I go from there?

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Collective Wisdom

By Bigg Success Staff
08-07-08

Career Builders

pm411_logo One great way to build team spirit is to get everyone involved in sharing their knowledge. We’re familiar with user-generated content, in the form of wikis and comments. Why not create an e-mail newsletter that allows anyone on your team to contribute?

Daniel Hintzhsche, a Technical Editor in Microsoft’s Office User Assistance group, had such an idea. He writes about how he started his department’s internal newsletter.

It’s a great post, ripe with tips on how a newsletter could help your organization, how to get newsletter started, tools you can use to create and distribute your newsletter, and how to encourage contributions.

Just be careful – Daniel suggested this idea and now he is Editor-in-Chief. Now that’s taking one for the team!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Put Your Inbox on Steroids

By Bigg Success Staff
06-25-08

Leading-Edge Application

sandy 

Would you like your own personal e-mail assistant?

I Want Sandy!

Would you like help managing all the mundane details?

I Want Sandy!

Would you help remember important meetings?

I Want Sandy!

I Want Sandy! is a great way to remember all the details so your mind can be free to focus on what’s important. From appointments to birthdays to yoga class to zebra fish feedings. And everything in between.

And it’s FREE! Check it out today!

You can get an e-mail with your schedule for the day.

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Are Face-to-Face Meetings a Thing of the Past?

By Bigg Success Staff
06-19-08

Career Builders

face_to_face

We live in a socially connected world. We develop and maintain relationships electronically. LinkedIn. FaceBook. Twitter. And hundreds of more ways to meet and greet people online.

We send text messages, instant messages, chat online or e-mail back and forth. These forms of communication have reduced the number of phone calls in which we engage.

And face time … well, it’s not gone the way of the dinosaur, but who really needs to meet face-to-face?

We all do!

All of the communication tools at our disposal are valuable. However, nothing can replace in-person conversations for richness. We can build higher quality relationships faster when we meet face-to-face.

When we meet in-person, we can see the whole conversation. Body language, facial expressions, vocal inflections. We get the entire dynamic.

We don’t have access to those things when our conversation is electronic. We even miss a lot of it with a phone call. Nothing replaces meeting in-person.

Of course, many of our conversations can be handled with the new methods of communication. But don’t be shy about meeting in person when the situation calls for it. You’ll probably find that you accomplish more than you can with any other means.

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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