While much of our communication is done consciously and overtly, an equal amount of communication occurs unintentionally, and often without our awareness. Both these forms of communication are vitally important in understanding how a person is thinking and feeling and why here at EIA we put equal emphasis on both sides.
Before we move onto the different types of verbal and non-verbal communication, let’s first focus on laying the groundwork for any successful communication…
Rapport is the first step to good communication. Great communication relies on people feeling comfortable… you never hear about people wanting to move jobs because they feel so at ease with their boss and colleagues do you? Having the ability to make others comfortable through good rapport is a critical skill to become a caring and effective communicator.
In many cases, rapport comes easy. I imagine you do not have to cast your memory too far back to remember a conversation you had with a stranger where everything just seemed to ‘click’. This click is the sign of some fantastic rapport, and we often see this occurring when we are having a conversation with someone about a shared interest or perspective. The challenge in establishing rapport comes then when we are not discussing things of common interest, or having other difficult conversations. It’s valuable therefore to look at some rapport-building techniques to help make others feel more comfortable and assist with the facilitation of effective communication.
EIA has developed an advanced model for analysing verbal and non-verbal behaviour – Six Channel Analysis – Real-time (SCAnR). SCAnR is a multiple communication channel model for behaviour analysis that has been validated for use in high- stake contexts. The six channels we assess are illustrated here:
Verbal communication is the sharing of information through the use of speech. It includes the verbal content – the words people actually choose to use, the style in which people talk, and the volume, pitch and speed of their voice.
The ability to communicate effectively will rely heavily on a persons ability to convey information through their spoken words. It’s one of the most sought after skills by employers and contributes significantly to a persons chance of excelling within the workplace.
Here we will look at the verbal communication channels from the SCAnR model:
This is the detail, structure, plausibility, contradictions and flow of the words we say [delivery]. If we know how someone responds typically if we know their baseline or normal operating behaviour we will be very interested in any change from this baseline. While the change from baseline applies to all five channels, it is particularly relevant in verbal style in relation to pauses or filled pauses, jargon, stuttering and repetitions or changes in pronoun usage and tone of voice.
This is the words we say or write. Research in this area goes back many decades and continues to this day to seek a language or composition that can discriminate between a credible statement and a non-credible statement because the former is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the latter. This technique and analysis that is given in evidence in some countries in Europe and North America provide a language and structure to enable you to articulate what it is that you intuitively believe to be amiss when otherwise your vocabulary would fail you.
Here we listen for the changes in pitch, volume and tone can tell us a lot about the emotional states of others. From a phone call alone you can learn to hear these changes in parameters and gain a clear understanding of how a person is feeling.
Non-Verbal Communication is what is communicated outside of the spoken word. A lot of what we communicate to others comes through our non-verbals…more than you maybe first thought. Within the SCAnR model, there are three non-verbal communication channels to consider. These are:
The movement of more than 40 muscles in the face that combine to signal actual emotions and cognitive processes. Work undertaken by Darwin and other 19th century scientists has been advanced by Ekman and others so that now we know that all humans irrespective of race or colour share seven universal emotions. In addition, under some circumstances, these emotions [happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, contempt and surprise] can be given off involuntarily, in less than a quarter of a second revealing a person’s true feelings. Such fleeting images are referred to as micro facial expressions [MFE]. Evolution has dictated that the face is the clearest signal for emotional display.
These are the non-verbal signals, other than facial, that can reveal what we are thinking and feeling. The research literature about body language and deception is not straightforward and is heavily influenced by cultural variables. Despite this, it can provide an illuminating insight into a person’s thought processes and emotions.
This is the biometrics and the chemistry and the electronics that are going on within our body. While these biometric indicators of what the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is doing often need technical equipment and sensors to pick them up, there are many clues from behaviour and appearance that can point to changes in a person’s psychophysiology and give you a better idea of how that person may be thinking and feeling.
By developing your skills to read and interpret a person speech accurately, you are going to significantly improve your ability to read, understand, and influence others.