Friday, June 25, 2010

Energy Levels

I was once sitting on a sofa with my friend Tim preparing to be interviewed for a video about youth work. I have always been excited about youth work but it so happened that on a summer afternoon, in a hot studio we were both a little weary. Tim pitched the first question in quite a sleepy voice and I mimicked him when replying. It went downhill from there until Paul the director cut it and said we had to watch out for our energy levels. It was great advice.

Second take Tim roused himself to a bit of excitement about the subject and I trumped that. We had an animated conversation.

I guess I learned that lesson but didn't really begin to apply it elsewhere until recently when I noticed, in an interview, how the interviewees mimicked the energy levels of the questioner. At an interview we want our candidates to be excited about their subject but we make it hard for them if we're not.

My thought for the day, if you like, is to watch and listen for how the first person to speak in a meeting or conversation sets not only the tone and content but also the energy. Only if you are really aware can you respond to a low-energy introduction with a high-energy contribution.

And of course, if you are leading off a meeting and you want your participants to be energized then take a charisma boost in the corridor outside. Turn the dial up to 11.

When we speak, our actual words are probably less than 50% of our communication. The rest is about body language, pace, energy, expression, eye-contact and sheer chutzpah.

Time to get excited?

1 comment:

John Ward said...

Apparently, the 'words' aspect of communication countdown for about 7% of what someone recalls, the tone of voice add another 38%, but the the big daddy here is body language, which as the maths graduates and accountants have realised contributes 55% of recall.