Golden Rules for Effective Communication

By Donna Duggan

Confident business woman communication
MiNDFOOD caught up with Australian success coach Sam Cawthorne to discuss body language, communication and public speaking.

How did you get into learning about body language?
When I was working for the Australian Federal Government as a Youth Futurist I had a major car accident. On the rehabilitation of that car accident now living with a disability, I then won the ‘Young Australian of the Year’ mainly because I was going into schools sharing my story. I went into approximately 500 schools over the next two years sharing my story and then became an international professional speaker sharing my story in 36 countries around the world including sharing the stage with President Bill Clinton, Dalia Lama, Richard Branson and also Michael Jordan.

Through sharing this story and really polishing it I worked out the tools and strategies that I needed for body language during this time. So I then became more excited about learning more, so I went to a number of different mentors, one mentor was Michael Grinder and over the next few years I became his Protégé. Michael Grinder is the brother of John Grinder who is the Co-founder of NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programing. However Michael Grinder has spent over 50 years obsessed about this whole area of nonverbal intelligence, specifically body language. So I learnt most things from Michael Grinder.

What are some simple tips for improving everyday communication?
So here are some simple tips in order for anyone to improve their everyday communication. Realising that content is only 20 percent of the influence and impact to the listener. This means that your content, what you say is nowhere near as important as your method, how you say it, which is up to 80% of the influence and impact. So when you have a very important presentation or a very important pitch that you need to deliver, practicing your lines and memorising the talk is nowhere near as important as visually being aware of how you are coming across. Such as your gestures, you’re facial expressions and your tonality.

First impressions as we know is one the most important things in business and really influencing and impacting people in the world, whether it is through social media, meeting them for the first time or actually doing a presentation. So your pacing and tonality must have the punch it needs particularly in that first impression. My encouragement for everyone would be “the longer you pause, the more intelligent you come across.” The faster you speak without any pauses will showcase to the listener that you are nervous or that you don’t go deep into things. So speak slowly, clearly, articulately but allow for pauses where necessary. This way you can certainly make an outstanding first impression.

When it comes to public speaking, what are some golden rules?
The golden rule in public speaking would be that you must always have story within the message that you are delivering, whether it is a three-minute message or a three-hour message, you must insure that you incorporate story into that message. One of the main reasons for this is because we are so used to people telling us what to do. We hear it from our parents from our teachers, from our bosses, see it in marketing left right and centre. One of the greatest tools for standing out from the noise is going to be story. And sharing that story in the most authentic, emotional and congruent way to evoke emotion into the listener so you can influence and impact them. I guarantee you that once you start sharing more stories people will lean in. We can inspire people through stories, we can empower them through stories and we can certainly make a difference through stories. Particularly when we are presenting them.

What is your new book about?
My new book is called Storyshowing:How to stand out from the Storytellers. We have heard of this terminology ‘story telling’ for generations however there is a shift and the shift started to happen around five to seven years ago when everyone was talking about visual story telling. This is about telling the story in a more visual way, whether it’s through images or pictures or even through video. If I say, “let me tell you something” it evokes that emotion that you don’t really care about how this lands for me. But if you say, “let me show you something” it lands a lot different to the listener. The book is all about story showing not just storytelling, and takes into consideration when we do share stories how can we show it in a powerful way through our non-verbals and also our body language.


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