We all know the importance of good body language. And, the way you say something also has a huge impact in the way your communication will be received.
In fact, it’s said that only 7% of the communication we make is actually the content, the rest being made up of elements above.
Imagine that! In fact, why not start to notice it next time you communicate with someone. Take a look at the way they place themselves physically and their delivery. Notice how it makes you feel. Would you say it differently?
One thing that always makes me chuckle is when you are in deep rapport, maybe with a friend, and then suddenly notice how the words you both use and the way you are both using them are very, very similar. You’re usually even sitting or standing in the same way – mirroring each other.
Strip it Back To Words
I’ve done this short video to demonstrate…
Now think about your salon written communications – those emails, text messages or Facebook updates. Think about how the person at the other end of that communication is applying 93% of their communication model to your message.
If they’re in a bad mood, that’s how they’ll read it. If it’s 10 o’clock on a Monday morning, and they have a hard week ahead at work, they will tend to apply a very different tone of voice onto your words compared to if it was (say) a Friday.
So Where Does That Leave You?
I have a few points that I think are essential when it comes to written communication. You can apply them to your emails, text messages, newsletters or even replies to WhatsApp messages to staff members or colleagues.
Many people write things without thinking about what the purpose is. Why are you writing your advert / staff communication, etc.? What to you want to happen as a result of it?
The way you feel physically has a huge impact on the way you communicate. Try this: Write a message. Now stand up, stretch your hands up as high as they can go, then drop your arms, leaving your shoulders where they are. You should be standing nice and tall. Notice how you feel differently? Take three deep breaths then re-assess your message and wonder how you might do it differently.
Even if you simply stop writing, sit up straight and take some deep breaths and then start again, you’ll notice the difference.
It’s essential for you to be in the right frame of mind when you write. More haste less speed – especially if it’s a communication that is authoritative, such as a letter or memo to staff. Think about times when you have re-acted (badly) to a member of staff in the moment and remember what happened after it. Did you get what you wanted?
Cater To Your Audience
The same applies to a client message. Stop. Think about three of your best / favourite clients and imagine you are talking to them.
Cater To Technology
Wonder how your audience night actually read your message. It might be on a mobile phone in Whats App. It might be a web browser or a Tweet with limited characters. It might be a print advert surrounded by lots of other adverts. Use the right level of words to accompany the message to make it more engaging.
Pick Your Words
The words you use need to match your message, but they also need to match your audience. What words do they use? (You do this naturally anyway. The way you speak to your parents is different from colleagues, children, friends, etc.)
Write and Re-Write
Don’t send your first draft. Prepare, read and re-write… and re-write. In fact, read your email in another person’s voice (pick someone you know will receive it). You’ll be surprised how much it might change and offer areas of improvements before you press send.
Sometimes, less is more. What can you take away from your message without losing the clarity of the message. In fact, losing unecessary words might improve the chances of having your intentions met.
Pick your moment carefully. You could look into best times of day/week when to send your written message, but to be honest, in all my years, I still couldn’t suggest when is the best time. That said, think about when your audience might be attentive/receptive? If your audience is mothers, for instance, during school run times is not a great time.
One thing I would say is that if you are doing something such as a newsletter – make it consistent. Eg. First Friday of each month.
Take Feedback from Response
Not every communication will hit the spot. But, learn and adapt. Build on the ideas that you think went well (remembering that they may not work like that forever) and develop your writing style and delivery.
Grammarly is a great app to help with your spelling and grammar – well worth loading on your computer.
When you bear in mind that only 7% of a communication is the actual words, why would you not deliver staff communications face-to-face? And remember, video is not as hard to do as you’d imagine. Even apps like WhatsApp allow you to send Audio. Why not experiment with different communications to see what is the most effective.
And, when I say effective… Do you achieve your intention?