By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson, and Ted Hagen Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) By learning to paint pictures with your voice, you can get better cooperation. Rehearse ahead of time, if you really have important information to deliver. Notice if your new language gets results.
Tribune News Service
Do you realize that your words can miss their target? You can say something to a room full of people, and you might get several different reactions.
There are 16 personality types, so listeners will "filter" your information in at least 16 different ways.
For example, let's say that you emceed a community event in a large town park. Let's imagine that a company furnished a new brand of potato chips to serve hundreds of people.
Let's pretend that you take the microphone to welcome the crowd, and you say to everyone, "I hope you enjoy the potato chips. I made them myself."
It's a sure bet you'd get these types of reactions:
-A few people would believe you really made the chips. There are trusting people who take everything they hear literally.
-Others in the crowd might get the joke instantly. They'd laugh and say, "How funny! Telling everybody you made these chips. Ha!"
-Some would judge you and make fun of you. For example, these folks might say, "Aw, this is crazy. Telling people you made the chips when we all know that's ridiculous!" There are always humorless people in the world.
If you're going to "guide" the reaction of your listeners, you'd have to furnish complete information. You might say to the crowd: "I hope you enjoy the potato chips. I made them myself.....well, I could have, if I'd had enough time this afternoon."
A man we'll call Rusty says he once joked with his office staff about improving the bottom line. "Some of the people went home and got sick," Rusty told us. "They actually thought I was hinting I'd fire them. They didn't pick up on my humor."
Clear communication can keep couples from failing to click, too. For instance, a friend of ours says she tries to draw a strong visual picture of what she wants her husband to do. Otherwise, she told us, he gets frustrated and refuses to cooperate. We'll call our friend Lois.
Lois might tell her husband, "Can you pick up three rose bushes at the plant store? They're $25 each. I'd like you to buy them and plant them by Saturday morning if you can."
Loise told us she used to ramble on like this to her husband: "The yard is looking crummy. Gosh, I wish you could get some rose bushes or something to spruce up the place. I don't know what it will cost, but my parents are coming this weekend, and we've got to do something."
A business owner we know in Kentucky, whom we'll call Jeanna, says she gives her employees guidelines in tiny increments. This way, they don't feel overwhelmed.
"My little flower shop was kind of floundering financially," says Jeanna. "I asked my employees to try to get customers to upgrade their orders by just five or ten dollars."
Jeanna told us, "I advised them to ask callers or walk-in customers, 'Would you like to upgrade that bouquet just a little? It doesn't cost that much more to include a couple of roses.' Or, I'd coach them to flatly say, 'We can personalize that arrangement a little more for eight dollars.'"
By learning to paint pictures with your voice, you can get better cooperation. Rehearse ahead of time, if you really have important information to deliver. Notice if your new language gets results.
Practice this week on how you'll make your points. Practice makes perfect. ___ (Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe, Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator, Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)