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CRAIG'S BLOG

Craig Huntington

Craig Huntington

When Behavior Speaks Louder Than Words

Posted by Craig Huntington
Craig Huntington
Craig Huntington received his Bachelor of Science degree in business from Oregon
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on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 in Blog

If you haven’t seen the AT&T spot entitled “Romantic Dinner” created by BBDO New York, you should. It is funny. The ad is targeting a male, sports-enthusiast audience who can’t fathom a romantic dinner – without “following the game” on their iPhone 4S (using AT&T’s 3X faster network). And there’s the rub.

 

The guy is torn between paying attention to his beautiful date and getting the latest updates on his favorite team. He checks the game action with the phone resting on his knee while trying to convince his girlfriend that he’s actually interested in the conversation. (The timing of the spot is terrific.) Unfortunately for him, we all know the repercussions of his behavior will last well beyond dinner. Check out the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLd4zOxAguM

 

 

Behavior speaks volumes. Body language is unmistakable. If you think you can say one thing while your behavior and body language are saying another and expect to fool anyone, you’re playing with fire. Behavior can either enhance or inhibit communications, and I like to demonstrate this with two very telling lists. Take a look at these and picture yourself on both sides of these six behavioral traits and the messages they send:

 

SIX BEHAVIORS THAT INHIBIT COMMUNICATION

1. Judging (“You’re wrong”)

2. Superiority (“Clearly I am better than you”)

3. Certainty (“Don’t confuse me with the facts. My mind is made up”)

4. Controlling (“Let me tell you how to do things right!”)

5. Manipulation (“Gotcha”)

6. Indifference (“Whatever. You’re not important and neither are your ideas”)

 

It is easy to imagine how quickly these six behaviors can bring effective and meaningful communication to an immediate halt. More importantly, it’s easy to see how quickly they can compromise the intended results of a conversation or a correspondence.

 

On the opposite side of the fence are six positive behaviors and the messages they impart. Have a look:

 

SIX BEHAVIORS THAT ENHANCE COMMUNICATION

1. Description – The opposite of Judging. The person applying Description is seen as seeking information about ideas to more fully understand them. The person uses words and creates perceptions that don’t imply others are wrong or need to change.

 

2. Equality – The opposite of Superiority. Communication is enhanced when you treat others with trust, respect and deference. Differences in power, authority, intelligence and creativity often exist but the effectiveness communicator puts little importance in these differences.

 

3. Openness – The opposite of Certainty. The person using Openness is not closed to ideas of others and never takes sides. Rather they are seen as investigating issues and as problem solvers. They exhibit an interest in a shared approach to meeting challenges. Partnership is a strong perception here.

 

4. Problem-Orientation – The opposite of Controlling. When a person communicates a desire to work together to define a problem or seek a solution he/she is seen as asking questions, seeking information and having no predetermined solution.

 

5. Positive Intent – The opposite of Manipulation. Behavior and words that appear to be spontaneous and free of deception encourage communication. The perception of honesty and spontaneity creates less defensiveness in others.

 

6. Empathy – The opposite of Indifference. Empathy reflects feelings and respect for the worth of the person you are communicating with. The communicator exhibiting empathy uses words and behaviors that show they identify with the feelings and problems of the receiver, and accepts the receiver’s reactions and responses at face value.

 

Situations don’t dictate whether good or bad behavior is in order, any more than situations dictate whether good words or bad words are in order. If your intent is effective communication, then every situation calls for the good in both. Crisis situations may be more trying and call for more tact and diplomacy, but this only reinforces the need for an effective leader to understand how to make the best of every situation.

 

Especially during the game.

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