Building trust takes time, and that is where communication is very important. Communication builds connection, and connection fosters trust. Communication is a skill that we need in all aspects of our life because communication links to emotions. Words translate to feelings. A powerful communicator can get the message across whatever their message is, whether it’s good or bad. It can be challenging and there are so many things to consider, so many different communication styles, and so many different people that it’s difficult to know what method of communication to use in order to be effective and with who. In this episode, learn some tips to effectively communicate so you don’t run the risk of misunderstanding, miscommunication, or misperception.
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Building Trust Takes Time
I told you that I love sports. I have a passion for sports. I’ve tried to play sports all through growing up and didn’t get the opportunity until I was in high school. Since then it’s one of my passions. We had so many options to watch sports. One of my favorite sports is baseball. Let’s talk about the World Series. Even though my Yankees were not involved in the World Series, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to watch it. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to root for probably the archrival of the Yankees. The Red Sox and the Yankees are not so friendly. Boston, New York have this rival going for years and years. I got to stick with my Northeast crew. Since I’m up in Boston, all the time, I was rooting for the Red Sox.
If you watched the game, first of all, was that the best game ever? It was a doubleheader. It was eighteen innings. Each team put in so many players. I don’t even think they had any bench players left to put in the game. If it went to nineteen or twenty, they would be screwed. It was a fabulous game. LA took that game. It didn’t help them in the long run because the Red Sox clinched the World Series. That’s it. They’re done. They’re world champs. They’re coming back to Boston. They’re probably back there now. I’m headed to Boston. I’m wondering am I going to be there for their parade or what? Because if I am, I’m going to join in and pretend I’m a Red Sox fan through and through, even though I’m one of those fly-by-night fans that only rooted for them because the Yankees were in the World Series. That is our little secret. I’m not going to be sharing that with everybody.
The other thing when I was watching the game that stuck in my mind was the mindset of the players. They had some bumps and bruises after that eighteen-inning game and then they had to come back the next day and play, but it’s all about the mindset. They had this mindset where both teams believed that no matter what they did, they were going to achieve. They had confidence in themselves. That stadium, when I was watching, it was electric. I felt like I was in the stadium when I was listening at home because it’s so refreshing when you see fans that all come together. They’re watching their favorite team play and they don’t know the person that’s sitting next to them. When either the Red Sox scored a run or the Dodgers scored a run, I can bet you that if they’re sitting side by side to somebody else, they’re high-fiving them in the bleachers because they’re there. They’re focused on a common goal. That is what brings people together. It bonds them because they all want the same outcome. That is so powerful. That is what life is all about.Perception is reality. Click To Tweet
When you think about it, you can link that back to everything that we’ve been talking about, which is all about a common vision, a common goal. Creating what your purpose in life is and what their purpose was to get to that game, to win the World Series. On day one, when baseball opens up on opening day, their common goal, no matter what team you’re on, is to make it to the World Series. It’s very powerful. Each and every one of them believed that they could succeed. It’s a mindset of winning. When I was thinking about what am I going to talk about now? There’s so much that’s going on in our country. I talked about happiness and all of the good things from a sports standpoint that we all were able to see and witness. There were some ugly, despicable things that happened as well, which was for some reason our country is divided. There’s communication out there that people are interpreting differently. They’re interpreting it differently from all ends of the spectrum.
There are people that see and hear things that are happening with the economy, that’s happening with the presidency, that’s happening with the elections coming up that are so negative on one side. The other side sees them as super positive. Everything is fabulous. Things are going great. The country is divided. What we saw once again was that hate prevailed, that there was such hate linked to a specific group for no reason whatsoever, that it’s causing this country to be divided. We have to figure out a way to bring ourselves together, to bring ourselves to see one common vision. What is the common vision for our country, for our people, for ourselves? It’s certainly not about killing people. How do we change that mindset? What do we need to do differently every day, each of us individually to change that mindset?
I’m sure that some days we look at the news and we have a negative outlook on life, that’s destructive. It’s not going to help us. It’s not going to help this country pull together and we are going to talk more about that because it is a passion for me at this point. There is such a division of people. We have to figure out a way to bring people together. We cannot continue to have this separation. Do you know what it all boils down to? It all boils down to communication. I started to talk about what is communication and why do we have such difficulty with communication? I thought about what is happening and it all became so clear. It is all linked to people’s perception of what’s going on. When you hear things, when you see things, you’re seeing them through your own lens. You’re linking it to experiences that you’ve had or that you’ve seen or that people have told you about but there are misunderstandings.
There are miscommunications and misperceptions and all of these things that are out there are causing the division that we see now. When you think about it, we’ve talked about the differences in how people see things on so many different occasions. There have been so many books. What is it? Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus, what did that book tell us? That book told us that men see things one way and women see things a different way. There you have it. There are issues. We don’t see things the same way. Why do think the divorce rate is so high? Because people see things differently. Why do you think that in corporations, there have been unions that were formed? Why do you think there’s a Human Resource Department? Because people see things differently and you have to have one source, one place to go to share your ideas, to see both sides. That is where communication breakdowns are.
Communication is complex. No matter what you say, no matter what you do in every organization, there’s a communication gap because people digest information differently. You can’t communicate the exact same way to all different types of people because people are diverse. People come from different backgrounds. People have different experiences. The issue is that perception is a reality. The words that you choose when you communicate are very important. When you talk about communication, you have to look at it holistically. The words that you choose are super important because people are going to perceive them in one way versus another. There are other things that come to light when you’re talking about communication as well. That is your expressions, your body language and your tone. All of those things are critical in terms of having a successful communication between two people.
We have so many media outlets. They all feed us information from their perspective, how we digest it, what we think of it creates the problems that we’re faced with. In some instances, you’re dealing with miscommunication, meaning that some people are not sharing the full story. They’re sharing the story that you want to tell. Realistically, anyone of us can twist a story by either leaving out pertinent information, adding in additional assumptions and by doing that, you can change the meaning. If you’re thinking about it from a malicious standpoint, that is one way to sway people to one side. Some of those things are not true. You can fact check almost anything. That in and of itself is not the right approach because it depends on where you’re fact-checking it from. We all think that if we type in Google on our internet and we ask Google a question, and it comes up with an answer, that’s the gospel, is it? Do we know the source of what we’re reading? We’re making assumptions based on that. Is it true? Who knows? You’ve got to do some fact-checking. You’ve got to dig a little bit deeper.
Most of the time, none of us have that opportunity to spend hours and hours fact-checking and doing our due diligence to uncover the truth and what you see the truth to be. The whole idea of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings are linked to perceptions. When you think about what happened, that is pure evil. Communication is the root of evil. Yet it can also be something so powerful to be fabulous. What happened at the synagogue where people lost their lives for no apparent reason, it looks as though it’s linked to communication. What is in the mind of the individual that has such hate that can pull out a gun and kill innocent people at a house of worship, at a synagogue, where it’s supposed to be a happy time for people? Unfortunately, this is another example of what’s going on in our world. I wish we could say that this is the only thing, this is the only instance where this craziness has happened but it’s not.Every single one of us has the opportunity to change things. Click To Tweet
The Power Of Communication
All of us, every single one of us has the opportunity to change things. Think about how powerful communication can be. It can be used as evil. When you think back to Hitler, what did he do? He used the power of his words to influence others negatively. He caused World War II. World War III could be coming but World War II. Think about what you can do to change that. Think about Martin Luther King Jr., who used his words to bring people together to change that divide, to change the mindset of people in a positive way, to think about equality, to think about others and to think about what we can do to help people come together. Communication, the words that we choose, the actions that we do can bring people together because communication is linked to emotions. Words translate into feelings and the reason why people lean one way or another is because the words people are choosing links back to the way that they’re feeling. It pulls on their heartstrings. It leads them to a path, either a path of something good or even a path of something evil. Communication is super powerful.
We all think we’re great communicators, but are we? How do we know? Have you asked people, do they understand what you’re saying? When you speak, are people moving in the right direction? Are you getting people to do what you want them to do, what they need to do to be successful? Those are the things you have to think about. You have to think about your message. What are you trying to get across? How do we change the minds of those that are thinking bad thoughts? That’s a question that each one of us needs to ask ourselves every single day. What am I doing to make things better? If we all sit back and think, “Somebody else is going to do something about it. I’m going to wait for them to take action.” Nothing will change. What’s the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You’re not going to get different results unless you do something differently. What are you going to do different, to be different, to change that mindset, to use your communication in a way that will help other people that will bring people together? Perception is reality and that’s something that you have to think about.
I was doing a session on communication and one of the participants in the workshop said that they felt like they’ve implemented this full communication plan. They were still wondering why the organization was not successful at communication because people were still complaining that the communication was not working. They implemented a newsletter. They implemented these special meetings and these updates. That alone didn’t help the communication breakdown because people need to hear things in different ways. You have to figure out how to connect with those people. The only way you can change the mindset of somebody else is through a connection. The words that you choose, the power in your message links back to that connection. One of the things that you also have to realize is that because you said something one time, it doesn’t mean that people understood what you said. You have to say it over and over again. In fact, the statistic is that if you say it seven times, then people will start to get it.
If you think you’re being fabulous at communication because you said something one time, that’s not necessarily going to be the case. The other thing that you have to consider is your body language tells a very important message. Your words say one thing, but your body language can say something totally different. In fact, your body language has more power than the words you choose. Link it together and it’s a powerful message if they’re in sync. If they’re not in sync, then there lies the problem. Have you ever been in a meeting where someone is talking and you’re thinking to yourself, “There is no way that this is going to work, she must be out of her mind if she thinks that I’m going to be jumping on board this train wreck?” That’s what you’re saying to yourself. Your body language is nodding, smiling and saying yes. The person delivering the message thinks, “This is fabulous. Everyone is on board. We’re all in sync.”
When I do a speech, I’m out there. People are nodding. They’re clapping. They’re laughing. I’m thinking, “Great. I’ve got them all on board. They get it. They get my message.” Do I know if they got the message? Not really because I wasn’t able to talk to them. I wasn’t able to hear what they got from the message. When I get testimonials at the end of a speech and they tell me what they learned from the session or what they got out of the session, that’s when I get confirmation that my communication was effective. That’s what you need to do. That’s what you need to think about. How do you get people on board? How do you spread a positive message that will resonate with others? It’s not that message that’s going to resonate with every single person.
I was talking to my husband about one of my previous shows. He was giving me some feedback on the things that I should have included. I got defensive. I said, “I did say that. I know exactly when I said it.” He didn’t hear it. Does it matter whether I said it or not because the message didn’t get across? It doesn’t matter whether I said it, because in reality, if other people don’t hear or digest what you’re saying, then it wasn’t good communication. Perception is a reality. That’s the most difficult and complex issue when you’re thinking about communicating effectively. Not everyone takes information the same way. There are so many different communication styles. How do you know which one to use with which person? That’s why communication is the root of all evil because it is difficult to figure out. It’s difficult to understand what the needs of others are and communication takes time. This is a topic that each one of us has to focus on.When you don't ask questions to ensure that people are understanding, you run the risk of poor communication and total misunderstanding. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite stories that I love to tell was when I was on Survivor. It links back to communication because it was a clear-cut communication breakdown. I was in an alliance with Shirin and Max. If you’ve watched my season, the season was White Collar, Blue Collar, No Collar. We were all on the White Collar Tribe. Probably somewhere along on either day one or two, Shirin and I made an alliance right off the bat. Max was also part of our alliance. I thought things were going great. I’m like, “This is good. There are six people on the tribe. I’m in an alliance with two of them. That’s three of us. Three of the other side. All we need is one of the person on our side and we’re good to go. We will be in control.”
On day three, we went to our challenge. We lost our challenge because we were horrible at a puzzle. Everything always comes down to the puzzle in Survivor. That night we had to go to Tribal Council. My name was coming up because I was the old lady of the tribe. I talked to Tyler. He was the fourth in our alliance to come on board and vote with us. We were going to vote against somebody else. Tribal Council comes, I knew I was going to get some votes. I did get two votes, but four of us voted against so Kim was voted out. I thought everything was great. We’re doing okay. I’m on the right side of the numbers. Things are looking good.
The next day, I’m passing by and I’m walking by Shirin and Max. I hear Max say to Shirin, “That Tribal Council was great. It was a triple blind side.” I’m thinking to myself, “Triple blind side, that doesn’t sound good. That means that I was part of the blind side.” I’m thinking, “What was that? How could they say that when we’re in an alliance?” I never said a word to them. From that moment on, I was on a mission to get Max out of the game because I thought in my mind that he was coming after me. That was a triple blind side, meaning that I was part of the blind side. I never ever discussed it with him until after the show. He and I talked. He said to me, “Mama C, why did you vote me out? We were in an alliance. I don’t understand what happened?” I told him what happened. I said, “I heard you and Shirin talking. When you said that that was a triple blind side, I knew that I was part of the blind side.” He said, “No, that’s not what it meant at all.”
Unfortunately for him, we did not communicate further about what I heard. I never told him what had happened. I was on a mission to get him out. That’s one small example of a misunderstanding. That misunderstanding caused Max’s game to end because the moment that I had the capability of getting him out and getting people on my side to vote against him, I did that. He left the game on day twelve or thirteen or whatever the case. That’s how powerful communication is. He wasn’t even communicating with me. I heard it in passing. I heard it from my own ears. It wasn’t hearsay. He absolutely said what he said. I bet you, Max wishes that he had known what I thought so that he could clear that up because what it meant for him was he left the game. I got people to vote him out. That happens more frequently than you can imagine. Even on the show Survivor now, you can see where people are talking and they’re not communicating effectively. They think they are but other people are not understanding it. Those things on this small level can cause a big change.
Facial Expressions And Body Language
The other thing that I talk about which is pretty important and powerful is your facial expressions, your body language, all of those things play a role in communication. You can say words, but if they’re haphazard, your body language doesn’t link back to it, then people are not going to believe it. It happens all the time. When you’re engaged in a conversation, you’re leaning forward. You’re focused on the other person. Your eye contact is there that shows that you’re interested. Another funny story from Survivor that is not one of the proudest moments of my life is your facial expressions. When you’re on a reality show, what happens sometimes is that people feel like they should be telling you all the things that they see. There are so many Survivor fans out there that put together some fabulous stuff, some funny stuff. There’s some hateful stuff that goes on there as well.
When you’re on a reality show, there are so many people that share information with you. One of the things that were shared with me makes me laugh. You got to have thick skin, you got to be able to take some things. Sometimes the fans put together these pictures and they put a collection of pictures together. They rate people based on these pictures. I was rated in the top ten with the best RBF. For those of you who don’t know what RBF is, because when I was first introduced to that, I had no idea what it meant. What it means is Resting Bitch Face. I apparently on Survivor have one of the top ten resting bitch faces, which means it’s a pretty mean and ugly face. That’s not a compliment for those of you who think it might be. It is not. What was hilarious was when the fan put it together. I read the entire article. I saw literally 20 to 25 pictures of me in different scenarios. It was pretty clear that I had to work on that facial expression because RBF was out there in the open.
Think about what that means to other people. Does it mean that you’re standoffish? Does it mean that you’re a raving bitch? Does it mean that people might not want to work with you because of what they perceive? It hit home with me in two respects. One is that I thought it was hilarious and that, “I’m in the top ten of something out of all the Survivor people.” You have to think about how you’re perceived. That is something that I have taken to heart because when I looked deeper into it, I know that I wasn’t mean on the show. I got along with everybody. If you’re looking at it from the outside looking in and you weren’t there 24/7 with all of the people and I’m in this discussion with somebody. I have this determined look on my face because I’m trying to understand where their head’s at and my mind is racing. It’s got this look of, in my mind, full determination and in somebody else’s mind, it looks like RBF, raving bitch. That’s not what you want. When you think about communication that is something that is important.
Interestingly enough, when I was talking about communication in the workshop, there was somebody else in the class that told me that their manager told them the exact same thing. That they needed to figure out a way in which to smile more or to get that look off their face because they always look like they’re mad. It does make people not want to talk to you. Communication again is complex. There are all different things that you have to consider when you think about communication. All of these things come into play when you think about why people are digesting information in one way or another. That’s dividing people, that’s pushing people from one side to the next.
Check-In, Ask Questions And Stop Multitasking
It’s because of the way that they’re digesting the information. People process information differently. You have to figure out how to communicate effectively when people process things differently. We’re always in a rush. We don’t want to spend time. If I have to stop and think about what it’s going to take to make this person understand me, I’ll think that they do and move on. That’s what causes misunderstandings. When you don’t do the check-ins, when you don’t ask questions to ensure that people are understanding, you run the risk of poor communications and worse yet you run the risk of total misunderstandings. This happens more frequently than not, but let me give you another example. Let’s say that you’re a brand-new doctor. You’re doing your first surgery on somebody, but you’re not 100% sure of one step in the process. If you ask, you could look stupid. Maybe they’re not going to let you do the surgery anymore. If you don’t ask, you could kill the patient. What’s the right approach? Obviously, you have to ask. You have to check in.
You need to think about how you are going to ensure that what you say is what people heard. If you think you understand, you got to check in. You’ve got to make sure that they do. You’ve got to improve your communications. One of the other ways to improve communications is to stop multitasking. Years ago, multitasking was like the thought of as if you can multitask, you are the best of the best. What we found was that it’s not that effective because you’re not giving 100% to anything that you’re doing. You’re giving a little piece here, a little piece there and it’s not that effective. We talked about the power of communication. It’s a skill that we need in all aspects of our life because communication links to emotions. Words translate to feelings. A powerful communicator can get the message across whatever their message is whether it’s good or bad. It’s really challenging. There are so many things to consider, so many different communication styles, so many different people that it’s difficult to know what method of communication to use in order to be effective and with who.
There are so many different options. We talked about some of the tips. Some tips are you’ve got to check in. You’ve got to ask questions. You’ve got to make sure that people are understanding and perceiving your message the way that you want them to. You’ve got to stop multitasking because when you multitask, you’re not giving 100% to anything. You can’t be that successful at it. We all thought we could back in the day but in this environment, stay focus. You’ve got to assume though that people have good intentions. When you’re communicating with others, give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes people are skeptical. People are worried about, “These people, do I believe them? Should I believe them?” Let’s believe them.
Let’s assume that people have good intentions, have that mindset. Only when they show you that they don’t have good intentions, then you can change it. There’s such a small subset of people that have those bad intentions that we shouldn’t penalize all the good, focus on the good. Tailor your message to the person. Know who you’re talking to. Get to know them. Connect with them. Figure out who they are and what is important to them. That’s what the power of words can do for you. Watch your tone, your body language and your facial expressions because you don’t want to be known as the person with RBF. I’m working on changing that. That’s something that’s going to change. Communication is one of my favorite topics. If you want more tips on how to improve your communication skills, you can pick up my book, Plant Your Flag: The Seven Secrets to Winning. You can purchase it on my website at www.CarolynJRivera.com. Next episode, I have two very special guests coming on and we are going to talk about social media. Remember, believe, commit and achieve. That’s the secret sauce that you’re looking for.