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Communication 101 ‒ How To Speak So Your Message Gets Across

Written by: Dr. Tonia Winchester, Executive Contributor Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Issues communicating can be a big problem in our lives and relationships. When people aren’t responding to what you’re saying in the way you want, what can you do differently to get your message across? Partner dancing and Neurolinguistic Programming have answers for this. I’m a very good salsa dancer. I’m not a professional, performer or competitor, but I’ve been salsa dancing for over a third of my life for 16 years. Being a good salsa dancer means that I’m a good follower. I know this because I feel it on the inside. When I’m following well I’m in the flow with a partner, and things are easy and fun.

I’m fully present. I’m listening, watching, and feeling my leader’s cues, using what we call in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) my sensory acuity, engaging all of my senses and observation skills. I have behavioral flexibility (another thing we do in NLP) as I respond to my leaders suggestions and adapt to each partner in turn.

Strong leaders are not forceful but clear. An experienced lead will offer the featherest, lightest touch with the tip of their pinky finger slightly moving 1 mm and I’ll know exactly what to do because that tiny movement is completely clear.

Good leaders also listen like good followers listen. Both partners need to be in tune with each other. The follower responds easily to the cues from the leader and the leader pays attention to their partner’s skill level and comfort level and offers appropriate suggestions.

Both people are present. Both are listening, observing, adapting, and adjusting. This makes a beautiful dance.

And this is true in our conversations too. There are two sides to any conversation: the speaker and the receiver, right?

Both sides need to be listening. The receiver must be open to take in the message. Now consider this. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that the message is received and understood?

In arguments, the speaker might say, “You’re not listening to me!” To counter this the receiver could say, “You’re not speaking in a way that I can understand.”

I’m curious and maybe you are too if perhaps the speaker can also have behavioral flexibility and adapt to the person they are trying to communicate with.

One of my favorite dance moments recently was with a very high level leader. He has performed professionally and even though he has more experience than I do, we had a fun time dancing together because he read where I was at and adapted his leading style to suit my experience and talents as a follower. I felt incredibly seen, safe, and comfortable.

To be clear we didn’t understand these things about each other because we sat down and had a conversation about it. We learned these things through trial-and-error in the first 8-16 counts of the music. As we begin the dance we’re both feeling, watching, listening to suss out how the other person communicates as a dancer, leader and follower.

The leader determines in these few short seconds how much pressure to use to lead me, if I can handle a double spin, or complicated arm patterns.

And because of that rapport that he had established with me by paying keen attention to me, he was also able to challenge me and our dance. At one point, he spun me consecutively about 20 times. There I am going around and around and around. We’re both beaming at each other, seeing our smiles each time I spin around and spot his face.

Let's come back to you and how you communicate with people, whether they be loved ones or business contacts. You have to decide how you can speak so they will most likely be able to receive your message.

It’s actually quite easy to know exactly how to speak to them. They will show you precisely how they want to be communicated with. Not consciously of course, but unconsciously they will be using certain words, speaking at a specific pace, with a discernible pitch and tone.

Simply observe them. Notice. Pay attention. This is the first step.

Do they speak quickly? Softly? What’s the pitch or tone of their voice? Do they use specific gestures? Are they in a certain posture?

First, notice with your sensory acuity, then mirror them with your behavioral flexibility.

Adjust your posture to match theirs. Use the same words and phrases they use. Change your speed, tone, and pitch to reflect what you’re noticing in them. Even try breathing in sync with them.

Make these changes even if they are uncomfortable for you. They may not be your natural way of communicating which is likely why you’ve been struggling in these (often repetitive) conversations for so long. Really, what’s worse? Making some slight adjustments in how you’re presenting your information or having what you’re trying to say ignored and lost?

Adapting to your receiver's style of communicating will allow them to really get what you’re saying at a deep unconscious level where all change, learning, and healing happens.

When you make these changes in how you talk to people, suddenly, the repetitive conversations that used to just loop around and around and around get a direction to them and actually go somewhere productive and helpful. Issues calm and resolve.

It’s about spin number 18 or 19 my partner yells, “You’re fabulous!”

And the truth is we were fabulous together. Because we both took the time ‒ using our sensory acuity ‒ to pay attention to the other and to adapt our leading and following styles to match and mirror the other person with our behavioral flexibility.

Watch and match. That’s all there is to it if you’re wanting to become a communicator who’s message gets across.

Give this a try! I’m so curious to see how it goes for you.

And if you’re feeling like you’re needing help with this, that’s exactly what I do with my clients. I help them clear their past so they’re not triggered by things in the immediate present moment. I also coach them on how to communicate in a way that’s effective, powerful, and resourceful. If you’re needing help with this, reach out. We can set up a discovery call to find out if where you’re at and what you’re wanting is a match for how I love to help.

May you choose to make all your dreams come true.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Dr. Tonia!


Dr. Tonia Winchester, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Tonia has been practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor since 2007. With contemporary neurological reprogramming techniques, she helps women overcome burnout, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Essentially she helps them calm their minds, sleep deeply, and find joy and energy in their lives again. Guiding clients through a "Breakthrough" process, they recode their unconscious minds for change, self-care, and success, priming them to create new, healthy, sustainable habits. Dr. Tonia has been featured on CTV, the Costco Connection, The Elephant Journal, Conscious Nutrition, The Autoimmune Simplified Podcast, and the New Generation Entrepreneur Podcast. Ultimately she helps everyday people create exceptional lives for themselves and their communities. To learn more about her brain-based coaching breakthroughs, head on over here!


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