It's all in how you say it... - Ginette Gagnon

It’s all in how you say it…

Have you ever heard of Kopi Luwak coffee?

It is the world most expensive coffee. Today on Amazon, it is sold from $500 to $800 per kilogram, which represents $10 to $16 for a single cup of coffee!

But what is really fascinating about this coffee is how it is made.

Small catlike animals, called civets, ingest the beans, and then expel them in their feces. People then « harvest » these beans, wash them, dry them, and then sell them to coffee lovers around the world.

Now think about that for a moment…

The people who first marketed this product certainly had to give their message a special « spin » in order to sell the coffee. You can bet they didn’t focus on the fact that it is made from a civet’s feces, even though it is the partial digestion that gives it its unique flavor. Instead, marketers probably focused on how rare it is.

Point is, the way you « package » an idea is going to impact how well people receive it.

Packaging has to do with the perspective you bring, the facts you use, the words you choose. A good strategy is to position the problem, demonstrate you understand the pain it causes, emphasize the value you bring, and propose an irresistible solution.

However, choosing the right words do not suffice to influence others.

Packaging is not solely about content. It is also about the container, that is, about you as a whole.

Only if you speak with confidence and conviction, will people believe you. Speak with hesitation and embarrassment, and people will feel your discomfort.

Great packaging is not only about the words you speak; it is also about your tone of voice, your facial expressions, and your posture.

Think how much we all like good storytellers. We are attracted by their sparkling eyes, their expressive gestures, their energy level. Our attention is captivated, and while we may not remember every word spoken, we will never forget how the story made us feel.

That’s because communication does not rely solely on words. Our messages are also conveyed through our voice and our body language.

In fact, research has demonstrated that:

  • 55% of what others perceive and understand is conveyed by your body language: your facial expressions, your posture, and your gesture. That’s the nonverbal component of communication;
  • 38% of what others perceive and understand come from how you speak: your tone of voice, your pace, your pitch. That’s the paraverbal component;
  • That means that less than 10% of others perceive and understand come from your words. That’s the verbal component.

Indeed, if words were enough to convince others, it would suffice to send a well-written memo to your employees for them to adopt a change. But it is never that easy, is it? There’s more to influencing others than the words you speak.

Now, let me ask you this: last time you prepared for an important meeting, what proportion of your time did you spend on your deck? My guess is about 95% of your time.

Think about this:

95% of your time spent on something that it will do only 7% of the job.

The question is, then:

How can you leverage your most powerful assets?

Next time you prepare for an important meeting, design the perfect deck as you always do. However, you must also spend considerable time preparing your paraverbal and nonverbal communications, such as:

  • How will you express yourself, to be brief and clear, adapting your vocabulary to your audience?
  • What elements of your presentation are key? Practice slowing down and pausing briefly to underline the importance of these concepts before and after presenting them.
  • What will your speaking pace communicate? Excitement, passion, stress?
  • What will your tone say about you? That you are confident or hesitant?
  • What about your body language? Do you stand like a leader, connect like a partner, behave like a supporter, or hide behind a table?
  • How will you connect with every single person in the room? The best practice is to make eye contact softly as you speak, one person at the time.
  • Are you authentic? If you don’t believe in what you say, neither will others. if you are not totally aligned with the message you must convey, then find the twist you can rally to, and speak from there.

Imagine embracing every aspect of communication to connect and influence others. You master your topic, AND the impact you have on others with your voice, your facial expression, and your posture.

You are no longer an average speaker. You are now a charismatic leader.

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