Are you an Affective or Neutral Communicator?
Affective communication is our ability to communicate and read others by focusing on non-verbal cues, including, eye moments, posture, breathing, facial expressions and so forth.
Neutral communication focuses more on the words that are being said and taking them for face value.
It's like, when someone asks - "How are you doing today?" and you answer - "I'm FINE!"
But your face says something entirely different! 👀
Or if you take time to write the "nicest" message, bursting with emojis and someone gives the thumbs up! 👍🏻😂
I hate that emoji.
We can all do both forms of communicating to some degree, but we all have a preference.
AFFECTIVE communication is a critical skill for being an engaging speaker and can seriously limit our public speaking capabilities without it.
It’s connected to our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and ability to influence.
Psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence as,
Having both personal competencies (Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation), and the way we handle relationships with others (Empathy and Social Skills).
According to Michelle Duval, CEO, and founder of Fingerprint for Success, a brilliant people analytics platform, some benefits of Affective communication are being more charismatic, expressive and perceptive.
We can't only communicate the "words".
We have to know how to connect to, and use our body, face, and emotions and communicate empathetically so it lands with the audience.
Also, knowing how to “read” the audience is critical to being able to adapt our style, voice, energy, tone and all aspects of content, and delivery when it's needed.
Affective communication is a key attitude, motivation, communication preference and skill that can be learnt and even mastered over time.
Here's an Exercise:
Find a buddy to practice with.
Start a conversation, about what you did over the weekend, or about something you care about.
Bring your awareness to what the other person is saying and only focus on the words. Listen to the actual words and practice taking them at face value by feeding back what you heard to the speaker and check in that that's what they meant.
Then, practice listening for everything that's not being said. Listen as you watch their body language, eye movements, breathing (shallow or deep), posture (strong, or tired, hunched, upright), tone of voice - does it match their words, or is what they're saying and how they're saying it different?
Then feedback that back to your partner and check in for accuracy.
Choosing to consciously focus on more than the words people say, will help you increase your Affective communication over time and before long, your EQ will be off the charts, you'll have improve your relationships and communication style, and even make you a better communicator yourself!