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July 2001

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Art Of Communication: Perception, Image And Body Language, And First Impression

Mary Dawne Arden, President
Arden Associates
135 East 50th Street, Suite 7-B
New York, New York 10022-7516
Tel: 212-6448199  Fax: 212-355-0177
Email: mda@ardenassociates.com
Website: www.ardenassociates.com

Art Of Communication: Perception

Perception: Dictionary definition: An immediate or intuitive recognition....As of a moral or esthetic quality, cognition. How do we perceive?

Well this has been the subject of a dialogue between philosophers and intellectuals from all the different disciplines for thousands of years.

My rule is KISS - Keep It Simple Soldier

We perceive based on who we are, we are the products of every experience we have had since we were born. So obviously we all see or perceive the same things differently, since we are all individuals with different sets of experiences.

Words are symbols that may be considered pointers, indicators, forms of representation, which are intended to correspond to anything whatsoever that may exist, that may be experienced or that anyone would want to talk about. Or put another way words may be used for the almost endless naming of the inexhaustible electronic events, objects, persons, situations, relations etc., that go on outside our skins, along with all the sensations, feelings, beliefs, opinions, values, tensions etc. experienced inside our skins.

So we describe things the way we PERCEIVE them. Can you see that we all perceive things differently? Therefore the Art and Skill of communication is a tool that helps us understand our different points of view or perceptions, so that through the communication process with ongoing feedback we can come to some form of consensus and build relationships and understanding.

Such an analysis of words makes one point inevitable: The phenomenon of language is different from the non-verbal phenomena, that we represent by it. We live in two worlds that must not be confused, a world of words and a world of no words. Known as Verbal and Non-verbal forms of communication.

If a word is not what it represents Then whatever you might say about anything will not be it. If in doubt try eating the word steak when you are hungry or wearing the word coat when you are cold. In short, the verbal discourse is not the universe of our direct experience. Therefore, we must be very aware and focused in the present moment to constantly listen and give feedback to achieve real communication.

You can see that this is how most of the miscommunication in the world leads to problems and misunderstanding. So never assume someone knows what you are talking about at any time.

Art Of Communication: Image and Body Language

Your Image - What does the non verbal part of it communicate? Part of the message You give to other people is the non-verbal part.

What do these things communicate to others? How you stand and walk, your posture How you use your hands in the communication process Your appearance, How you dress How you style your hair, Make-up etc.

Statistics from Stanford University tell us that when we speak it is: 7% the words 38% your tone of voice 55% Body language

You must be aware of the effect you have on people. Part of the human condition is that we do not see ourselves objectively. We see ourselves through the comments of our audiences and their reaction to all we communicate to them in many different ways. The most important part of the process is the invisible part: Your Attitude is what is felt on a very subtle level, if we are aware enough, we can sense how people feel about themselves on an inner level, their self confidence, self esteem, whether they have a negative or positive attitude.

Check yourself on videotape; get a friend to follow you around; ignore them if you can. You begin to see how you look to other people and what needs work. You have to recognize bad or inappropriate image habits before you can change them.

Some tips to use for creating a better Image:

  • Posture: do not slouch.
  • Collect photos from magazines and periodicals to create a scrapbook of the kind of image you want to have, study them.
  • Work with a good Image Consultant.
  • Learn to communicate warmth through facial expression and through open body language.
  • Do not distract with needless gestures.
  • Smile when appropriate…Be natural.
  • Project a low-key thoughtfulness and energy balance for what you are saying.
  • Audio and video tape your self.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Do not fidget.
  • Art Of Communication: Your First Impression

    Remember You are your own message! Think about someone that you met recently for the first time. What did you think of them?

    What kind of an impression do you make on others? How long does it take? You may be surprised to find out that research shows, it is between 3 to 7 seconds, when we form our first impression, of each other and it takes a lot of time and effort to change that, if it is negative.

    So my suggestion to you is that you can be your own best message. You can project an image that creates a positive effect on people by the way you communicate with them. You must be aware of the Image you are projecting.

    Do you listen well? How do you feel when you know someone is not giving you their full attention, when you are speaking to them?

    Test yourself: See how fully you are listening to someone? How many of the ideas they talk about can you remember, to give them feedback? We all have a tendency to think about what we are going to say next, instead of listening 100% to the person who is speaking!

    You know don't you, when someone is really listening to you? Practice listening as well as you can.

    Communication is more than speaking to people; it is more even than gestures that accompany words. Effective communication involves what is said, how it is said, and sensitive interpretation of the response.

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    Mary Dawne Arden is a coach and consultant to executives, political leaders and companies around the world. Her clients include: CitiGroup; NBC Broadcasting; Oracle Corporation; The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; General Electric; Bristol Myers Squibb; Tiffany and Co.; Bear Stearns; Bankers Trust, Private Banking. To see her listing on Experts.com Click Here.

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