The basis of communication is the message we wish to convey. The receiving of that message is then dependent on a few factors: clarity, completeness, the recipient’s mindset and perspectives, and most importantly, our own style of communication.
We all know that people communicate in different ways, but it’s also true that individuals communicate differently according to the subject matter, the environment, the listener and so on. One minute we could be telling a joke to friends, only to then give a presentation to peers, which is why each of us can sometimes sway between positive and negative communication. How the message is received – positively or negatively – hangs on how we deliver it.
The words we use are of course very important. It’s not simply the range and complexity of the vocabulary, but also the suitability, digestibility and impact of the words. The same goes for the tone of the message and the body language that accompanies it. You could give a brilliant speech that’s meant to inspire and motivate, but if it lacks conviction and energy it will simply fall flat. Likewise, you could be talking about dry statistics and data, yet passion and appropriate humour will result in key points being absorbed more thoroughly by your audience.
So why is this? Well, when we receive positive communication from others, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which provides a sense of elation, increases adrenaline and makes us feel very confident and positive about a given circumstance. When we receive negative communication from others, a chemical called cortisol is released instead, which is reserved for uncomfortable or threatening situations. Put simply, dopamine encourages us to relish the experience whilst cortisol puts us on edge, generates anxiety, triggers warning signs and urges us to escape the cause.
While you may think that you’re coming across as positive because you’re smiling as you talk, or using all of the brand’s buzzwords, you could still be received in a negative way. To master the craft of positive communication, you must first believe in what you’re communicating, then share your confidence with others through words, facial expression, body language and overall tone that are conducive to a clear, informative and persuasive distribution.
Strong leaders are positive communicators. You could be giving bad news, yet by communicating positively you help your staff to understand and appreciate the facts. Every person you interact with should leave feeling positive with dopamine flooding through their brain, only then will you be a truly effective communicator.