December 7, 2011— DAY 7: There is a UCLA study that is conducted on a regular basis which focuses on communication. The essence of the study is this: 55% of all communication is done through body language; 38% through Para verbal (speed, inflection, volume, etc); and only 7% of all communication is made up of the actual words you say. So truly it is not what you say but how you say it that counts.
When communicating to others words do matter but not as much as how you say what you are saying. But what about the words you say to yourself. Since you don’t communicate to yourself with body language and less likely does the para verbal play a role in how you communicate to yourself that would say that words matter more when in your own self talk.
What I say to myself weighs greatly because it is part of my belief system. I, like many others, may believe something about myself that is not entirely true. When I work with clients I am typically listening for those “beliefs” that they hold. I have often said that when you say you can’t do something you have already made the decision that you won’t do something. Don’t get me wrong, there are things like physics and health that might limit our abilities to do something but beyond those limiters we typically chose to not engage in an activity. For example I not only can’t bring myself to skydive… I chose to NOT ever skydive. My fear of falling is enormous. However, if you asked me to rappel down a 500 foot cliff I am all over it. You see, I have made some choices in that matter that really revolve around how I can control or not control my decent.
Over the years I’ve worked with individuals that have held certain beliefs about themselves that have destroyed their self-esteem and belief in their capabilities. This is a much harder habit to get over and takes a great deal of hard work. But – YOU CAN DO IT! Let me give you an example of how we can change what we believe just by changing the structure of what we say. Normally, I will hear someone say today is going to be a great day. The “going to be” part of what they say is hopeful but not as positive as it could be. You see – this leaves open a wide window of time for the day to actually “get better” than it is. It could mean that the day gets better only after you get home or you go to bed. A better way to state this is to say today IS a great day! Do you see the difference? Claim the day as great rather than waiting for it to happen at some point.
Today’s exercise might be a bit harder but that is what a challenge is all about. I want you to become aware of how you listen to what others are say and how you communicate back to them (body language, para verbal, and words). Then I want you to take note of what you say to others and yourself. Throughout the day write down those things that may seem less positive than they could be. Then think about those statements and find a way to reframe what you are saying to yourself. Many a “positive thinker” guru has written about our self-proclamations. Zig Ziglar has written books on the very subject. Think about what you say to yourself and begin to change the message you send to your subconscious. Anything else might as well be a lie that you are telling yourself over and over again.
Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.