In Workplace Communication, Words do Matter

Since the 1970′s, communication experts were citing research results released by Dr. Albert Mehrabian at the related value of 3 vital components of human communication:

Mehrabian’s report reinforced reports released within the late 1960′s by the Journal of Consulting Psychology and the Journal of Personality and Psychology.

That research claimed that during a completely limited scope of interpersonal communication, that the message conveyed was impacted:

  • 57% by the body language of the communicator
  • 38% by the tone
  • 7% from the words

This communication model is now called, “The Mehrabian Myth.”

I believe, in most every context, words have significantly greater impact, as a contemporary client experience points out. My client is the CIO of a significant division at her company. The division she oversees is called CCIS for Central City Information Services.

She and i’ve been working together to create a more engaged, motivated workforce in a public governmental setting. To take action we’ve created formats for staff to engage more, share ideas and make higher-level contributions to the way forward for their division. It’s been a refreshing approach after years of stagnancy within the division and its leadership.

After a up to date coaching session, my client decided to alter the name of her division to be more inline with what she wants it to become. It’s a subtle change. So subtle it should not even change the division’s acronym of CCIS. The hot name may be Central City Innovation Services.

Notice the variation between what “information” and “innovation” conveys.

Providing “information services” inside the public sector (or any sector for that matter) is reactive. Here is what this division have been facing for years because it tries to react to the requests that are available in from other departments and divisions of their city.

My client wants her division to become proactive, bringing ideas for innovative city services to their internal customers and stakeholders. Only one word shifts the main focus and the expectancies for 36 employees on this division.

Making this shift doesn’t require any tone or body language to make it 100% understandable, inspiring and motivational.

That’s the facility of 1 word, on its own.

Leaders must start paying more attention to the words they use to make their messages more powerful, inspirational and motivational.

Motivational Photo via Shutterstock

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