Coping skills for success
An assertive, self-confident person uses a variety of coping techniques to deal with the challenges of interpersonal communication. Many of these techniques come from the school of neuro-linguistic programming.
NLP began in California in the mid-1970s, when graduate Richard Bandler joined a group at the University of Santa Cruz headed by linguistics professor John Grinder. NLP is defined as models and techniques to help understand and improve communication — and to enhance influencing behaviour.
Feeling and looking at the part would not be complete without voice. Given that we know that 38 per cent of communication effectiveness is governed by voice quality, improving your overall voice message delivery is worthwhile. We are all born with a particular tone of voice, which we can learn to improve. The goal is to sound upbeat, warm, under control, and clear. Here are some tips to help you begin the process.
1. Breathe from your diaphragm
2. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; avoid caffeine because of its diuretic effects
3. Posture affects breathing, and also the tone of voice, so be sure to stand up straight
4. To warm up the tone of your voice, smile
5. If you have a voice that is particularly high or low, exercise it’s by practicing speaking on a sliding scale. You can also sing to expand the range of your voice.
6. Record your voice and listen to the playback
7. Deeper voices are more credible than higher-pitched voices. Try speaking in a slightly lower octave. It will take some practice, but with a payoff, just as radio personalities have learned
8. Enlist a colleague or family member to get feedback about the tone of your voice.
Increase your confidence by sounding confident. Since 38% of the messages received by a listener are governed by the tone and quality of your voice, its pitch, volume and control all make a difference in how confident you sound when you communicate. Below are some specific tips.
Pitch (Pitch means how high or low your voice is.) Tip: Avoid a high-pitched sound. Speak from your stomach, the location of your diaphragm.
Volume (The loudness of your voice must be governed by your diaphragm.) Tip: Speak through your diaphragm, not your throat
Quality (The color, warmth, and meaning given to your voice contribute to quality.) Tip: Add emotion to your voice. Smile as much as possible when you are speaking.
The need for assertive, confident communication can occur at any time, in virtually any place. So how do you make this all come together? Here are some practice suggestions.
• Start simply and gain some experience in safe environments, such as at the grocery store, or with family or friends
• Set aside time when you can read out loud without being disturbed; listen to yourself
• Challenge yourself to speak with someone new every day
• Set a realistic time frame to make the shift; don’t expect to change your speaking style overnight.
Reducing anxiety is a coping technique. Often, anxiety inhibits your ability to act and sound confident when speaking. Knowing how to perform a quick relaxation exercise can help diffuse anxiety and allow you to speak more confidently.
An “I” message is a statement specifically worded to express your feelings about a particular situation. “I” messages begin with “I”, and are an excellent way to share your feelings about particular behaviors — without accusing the other person. There are four types of “I” messages, each with varying parts.
Increase your confidence if things do go according to plan during a presentation. Irrespective of the presentation venue, four actions can help you convert an interruption into an opportunity.
1. Always expect the unexpected!
2. At the beginning of the program, “work” the audience to pre-frame them, to create a mindset. Through light remarks, humor, or other responses based on your read of the group, leads them to make commitments to be playful, curious, flexible and energized.
3. Create several positive anchors that you can use later. An anchor is something unique that you do or say that automatically puts the audience in a resourceful or emotional state. Examples include A unique smile, a specific place where you stand, the word “yes” in a strong voice.
4. If something unexpected happens, first smile, and then quickly ask yourself “How can I turn this event into an opportunity to create humor or illustrate a point?”
Rapport is the relation of harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity to support an outcome. The intended outcome is more likely with rapport than if it is not present. There is a sense of a shared understanding with another person.
Mirroring – matching certain behaviors of a person with whom you are interacting — is the process used to establish rapport. There are four techniques for mirroring to build rapport.
1). Voice tone or tempo
2). Matching breathing rate
3). Matching movement rhythms and
4). Matching body postures
Levels of rapport range on a continuum from a low tolerance to a high of seduction. For business, strive for levels of neutral, lukewarm, understanding, identification, or warm, all in the center of the continuum.
Representations systems determined by the brain give us cues about how individuals process information. People can be classified as predominantly:
• Visual (The things we see); Auditory (The things we hear); Kinesthetic (The things we feel, touch, taste, or smell)
Both the type of words used, and the speaker’s eye movement provide indicators of the system type. In a conversation, once we understand which type our conversation partner is, we can use the same system language to match the person’s type, helping to ensure more reception to our message.
Coming to Consensus
Whether there is a disagreement on a particular issue, or you simply need to get a group to agree, neuro-linguistics offers a solution. To plan, make the following decisions:
1. What do you want your outcome to be?
2. How will you know when the outcome is achieved?
3. Who will attend the meeting? (Important: Each person invited to the meeting must have the information needed for two out of three agenda items.)
Then, establish rapport as participants come into the meeting.
Now you are ready to use the PEGASUS model to achieve your desired outcomes.
Gain agreement on outcomes
Activate sensory acuity
Summarize each major decision
Use the relevancy challenge
Summarize the next step.
•Prof. Akindotun Merino is the CEO of Jars Education Group; a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California.
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