Your ability to make an emotional connection during communication, either with a group or individual, will have a direct impact on your effectiveness to communicate and influence your listeners. Making an emotional connection will also build trust into the speaker-listener relationship. Listed below are 10 tips to help communicators make an emotional connection with their listeners.
1) Eye Communication: The eyes are the windows to the soul we are told. In other words, we can see the intention or the heart of the individual through their eyes. It is very easy to speak in a matter of fact way during a speech and if you think that listeners don't pick up on this you'd only kidding yourself. Communicators must have the right eyes for the right task. Just as you would want to have a powerful aura of intent when competing in sports, you want to have a trusting, patient and attentive eyes coming through to your students during a seminar. Make eye contact, maintain eye contact and use the language of eye contact to increase your effectiveness as a communicator.
2) Gestures: This is another area of non-verbal communication that others will pick up on and you should pay particularly close attention. Ask yourself “what are my gestures actually communicating to the listeners?" If your message is oriented around power, are your hand movements powerful? If the message is fluidity and grace, do your hand movements reflect this? Gestures will increase your productivity to get your message across if you pay attention to, and use the gestures as a learning tool.
3) Movement and Posture: Where gestures are the specifics, movement and posture is a general form of non-verbal communication. Do you look interested or bored? Are you standing defensive posture with your arms crossed? Are you leaning on the podium? Movement and posture becomes incredibly important, when others are looking for feedback. You need to stand as if you are alert, paying attention and interested in what they have to say and contribute. You need to move as if you are motivated, enthusiastic and involved. If there is dialog you don't want to give participants non-verbal signals that they are unimportant and what they have to say and contribute has no value.
4) Having a sense of Humor: Some communicators think that they need to project a serious posture with others at all the times. There are times when a serious attitude is essential, however, people seek a relationship with their communicators and this relationship needs to include moments of humor as well as serious business. If your message is a serious one; lighten things up with a humorous story perhaps, this will drop their resistance a bit and then lead into the serious matters. There are a lot of sources of daily humor that you can share with your listeners and a humorous approach will help you develop a relationship with them that has more depth.
5) Clear Language Communication: As tempting as it may be to use slang or your own favorite phrases and words, make sure that your listeners understand what they mean. Avoid using words, technical jargon or phrases until you clarify with your listeners exactly what they mean. It is very easy to send completely different messages to different people when you use words that are not understandable and their meanings are not known.
6) Appearance: Periodically take some time to evaluate what message you are sending to your listeners based on your neatness, hygiene and organization. How organized do you appear to be? What does your clothing look like? Are your hands clean? What do you smell like, after-shave or perfume, or something else? Many individuals place high value on the impressions that you give them that are based on visual and sensory perceptions only.
7) Voice and Vocal Variety: I think that we have all had to endure sitting through lectures in college or business where the speaker spoke in such a monotone and uninteresting manner that our greatest challenge was just to stay awake. Learn something from this experience. Vary your voice intensity and range throughout your address. If it's a powerful point in the lesson then verbalize the point in a powerful manner. A dangerous point in the message can be conveyed by the dangerous tone of your voice. If you are purposeful to synchronize your voice range and intensity with the content of your message you can add an effective element of depth to your communication.
8) Feedback: When you are involved in a seminar for example, make time for various opportunities where you will ask the listeners questions so that they can give you feedback. This will get people involved, give them a sense of contributing and will give you an opportunity to measure whether they understand the main points of your message or not. Sometimes individuals just need to talk it out to produce the final mental organization they need to learn or understand. Listener feedback will add a dimension of clarity and effectiveness if you utilize it properly.
9) Use Age Specific Language: When engaged in speaking to adults, you can use the language that most adults will understand, but when speaking with kids, don't use complicated adult phrases they won't understand. When speaking with younger listeners simplify the language so that they can relate to your message from their own experience and age level. This will take some practice at first, but if you persist in adjusting your language to the age group of the listener; eventually it will become a natural part of your communication abilities.
10) Be Natural: This is probably the most difficult for speakers to achieve in the beginning. There's a lot to remember and a lot to do when giving a speech or conducting a seminar. Stay focused, breathe slowly and remain relaxed. Remember; as you gain more experience you will become a more fluid and dynamic communicator developing you own natural and personable communication style which makes an emotional connection with your listeners.
Bill Whitmire is a freelance writer living in Portland, Maine and can be contacted: email@example.com