You hear the complaint over and over again – people texting, listening to their iPod,  surfing the net, watching TV, playing games…all at the same time.  This complaint particularly surfaces when the Mature Generation, Baby Boomers, and Generation X discuss Millennials.  Yes, multi-tasking is a problem and for many, these distractions definitely turn communication into a challenging and unfulfilling process. 

But ineffective communication isn’t always the result of multi-tasking.  Ironically, if want to communicate effectively, multi-tasking is required.  How’s that possible?

When people communicate face to face, they deliver messages on three channels. You need to listen to all 3 channels if you want to hear what the other person is saying. Likewise, if you want to gain the attention of others, you must be able to identify and tune into the right channel of your audience.

What are these three channels?

  • Verbal – words.  Most people believe it is the words you use that differentiate good from bad communication.  While important, the words used are only one channel.  In fact, some research says that less than 10 percent of effective communication is driven by the words you use.  A majority of people tune you out and never hear your words when you don’t first broadcast your message on the right channel.
  • Visual – body language. This is the most popular channel, especially in face-to-face communication. Body language is reported to determine nearly 60 percent of effective communication. Your posture, your facial expressions, your eye contact all determine how quickly another person will turn you off or engage with you.  Body language also impacts non-face-to-face communication too.  Just because your target can’t see you doesn’t mean he or she can’t “hear” the effect of your posture and facial expressions.
  • Vocal – how you say it. This is the second most popular channel, especially with so many people communicating long distance and telecommuting these days. Loud and soft, fast and slow speech all impact the impression you make on others and how likely they will want to listen to what you have to say. The vocal channel determines approximately one-third of effective communication.

Which channel is most important? That’s a great question and the answer depends on the channel that the customer uses. How can you determine quickly the preferred channel of your listeners?

If effective communication is broadcast on three channels of Visual, Vocal, and Verbal, then CriteriaOne DISC is the TV Guide. Each behavioral style has its communication preferences. By understanding the DISC model, presenters can quickly assess their audience and tune into the appropriate visual, vocal, and verbal channels so the intended listener tunes in and stays tuned.

For an example of how all this DISC stuff works, watch the video embedded earlier in the article. Dr. Tony Alessandra does a great job of demonstrating how Visual, Vocal, and Verbal channels can change the meaning of even the simple word “oh.”

Can you hear me now?