Are words enough to carry a message to people? Is there more to communication than just speaking? What is it that connects to people beyond what you say? What separates impactful communication from mere exchange of information? What is it about great public speakers that moves people? Well, answers to these questions contain in them one of the most essential qualities of a successful professional – ability to communicate effectively.
And the significance of this quality isn’t limited only to orators, motivators, anchors or presenters. Today, it is equally important for professionals of all functional areas, hierarchy levels and industry types. Still, you will find only a few excelling in this aspect, and the reason is the misconception that ‘using the right words should be enough to convey your point to the other person’. Well, before we discuss it in some details, watch this video to get the gist of what we are discussing, why it is important, and how it is relevant in professional and personal context…
You heard it right – how you say something matters as much as what you say, because what you say tells about your content, and how you say it tells about your intent. Yes, without nonverbal aspects – like postures, gestures, expressions, tone, pitch, thrust, pauses – one’s point can neither have the substance nor the impact. And the root of this point lies in neuroscience.
If we will look at our brain then we will find that human brain is structured in the form of three layers. The lowest layer, called brainstem, ensures functions related to survival. The second layer is the center of emotions, and is called limbic system. And finally, uppermost third layer is the seat of intelligence, and is called neocortex. In context of communication, it is important to know that speech is a sophisticated neocortical skill and nonverbal aspects – like gestures, postures, expressions and vocal cues – are governed by emotional limbic system i.e. “Words express thoughts, and body expresses emotions”.
Well, this is about communication in terms of sender. Now if we see communication from receiver’s angle then we will find an interesting thing. While words are sufficient to make a cortical contact with someone, in building a limbic connection at emotional level, nonverbal aspects of sender’s communication play a much bigger role. Yes, words cannot express emotions, actually, at best, words can express your thoughts on your emotions. Pure emotions can only reach someone through your gestures, expressions, and vocal cues and only through them can a lasting connect get built between you and the receiver. To acknowledge this, introspect, empathize, and do the needful, social & emotional intelligence is required.
This ‘emotional & social intelligence’ is a lot about one’s knowledge of the design and functioning of human brain, and how they affect our responses and decisions. This blend of neuroscience and psychology sets the base for developing emotional & social intelligence – the skill of managing self and connecting with others. Yes, it is a skill that can be learnt, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with some important realizations like…‘words express thoughts, and body expresses emotions’.
Dr. Sandeep Atre
‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert
Founder – Socialigence
Note: Socialigence (www.socialigence.net) offers self-paced video-based online course on ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ with content that has relevance across the globe, and delivery specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.