Posts Tagged ‘communication’

How To Talk To Anyone

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 | Books

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks For Big Success In Relationships is a 2003 book by Leil Lowndes. I have had it on my iPad for literally years but never got too far with it. Looking for something to read, I found it again and managed to do a little better this time.

I originally bought it as I wanted something to help me improve my small talk. Lowndes’s advice isn’t too helpful. She suggests using what I would call “big talk”. To me, small talk is inoffensive general filler stuff, like the weather, whereas she suggests diving in with that is currently in the news. I try to avoid reading news so I am not too keen to try that one.

She also recommends avoiding complaining during small talk. I complain a lot, but usually in a jokey or upbeat way. Often involving the phrase ‘middle-class problems’. Maybe I should change this.

A lot of the advice is helpful for improving your communication skills. How often do we forget to smile? Or make eye contact with a waiter? I have noticed I do that a lot. I am looking and pointing at the menu, which I think is what most people do, but when you think about it it is rather impersonal.

The also gives this nugget, which I love:

“That joke was designed to get a silent laugh: I’m glad to see it worked!

I will be using that one next time one of my jokes at Toastmasters falls flat on its face.

She also recommends using visualisation. This means imagining yourself a presentation, or a speech, or even introducing yourself. I do this naturally when I am preparing for a speech and highly recommend it. Act your speech out. Don’t just read through it: make your sofa your audience and deliver it as you will when you actually give it.

I couldn’t find the 2003 book cover, so I have had to use a more recent one. My copy probably didn’t have 92 tricks in it…


Advanced Communicator Bronze

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 | Public Speaking


You know you have truly made it in your life when you become eligible to judge at the Public Speaking World Championships.

Nonverbal communication

Friday, April 5th, 2013 | Public Speaking

Have you ever been told that only 7% of communication is verbal? The other 93% is not about the words you say, but the body language, tone and gestures that accompany it.

Incredible isn’t it? Almost too incredible. Indeed, there is a reason that it feels too incredible to be true – because it isn’t true. It’s a statistic based on the work by Albert Mehrabian at the University of California, which you can read all about on Wikipedia, that tests how people feel towards the speaker. But it doesn’t accurately translate into what percentage of your message is verbal or nonverbal.

Mehrabian states this on his website:

“Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like–dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable. Also see references 286 and 305 in Silent Messages – these are the original sources of my findings.”

And has previously said in an email that was reproduced in the book Lend Me Your Ears:

“I am obviously uncomfortable about misquotes of my work. From the very beginning I have tried to give people the correct limitations of my findings. Unfortunately, the field of self-styled ‘corporate-image consultants’ or ‘leadership consultants’ has numerous practitioners with very little psychological expertise.”

Of course body language and vocal variety are an important part of communication. But the words you actually say do count for something too.


Thursday, July 26th, 2012 | Tech, Thoughts

Chirp is a fantastic new service that lets devices literally talk to each other.

Actually, by devices, I mean iPhones. It’s not specifically for iPhones, but that is the only client they have released so far. It does also work fine on the iPad as well though, so if you have both you can test it by getting them talking to each other. But anyway…

The idea is that a lot of devices these days have speakers and microphones – so rather than having to mess around with bluetooth pairing, instant messaging, emails that never arrive, etc, the devices could just talk to each other – using sound.

When you want to send a link, or a photo, or anything for that matter, you simply “chirp” it and your phone outputs a sound. Other devices listening in can then hear it and decode what it says. The simplicity of it is its brilliance – any device could talk to another, without having to connect, or pair, or any such nonsense. Finally you could share a link or photo to all your friends in the bar without having to mess around with some complicated system – even texting it to them requires you to have their number in your phone for example, but Chirp doesn’t.

It’s an amazing concept; you have to wonder why nobody has done it before.

One drawback I will note is that the devices are actually just communicating locations to each other – so rather than chirping a photo to each other, the photo is actually uploaded to Chirp’s cloud, then the device listening simply hears the location and goes and downloads it. This means all your data has to pass through Chirp’s cloud, which isn’t ideal, but as a chirp is inherently public to anyone who is listening in anyway, you should never use it to transfer private data in any case.