Communicating Better:
4 Social Signals

Social SignalsSuccessful people are great communicators who recognize that conversations are part of an evolving social process. They aren’t just skilled listeners; they’re attuned to subtle social signals that are more revealing than words alone — and they use them to their advantage.

We’re more connected than ever before. The ability to reach out and communicate with people around the globe has never been more accessible. But are we paying attention to key signals that improve our understanding?

Ten years ago, half of humanity had never made a phone call, and only 20 percent had regular access to communications. Today, 70 percent can place a phone call or send a text message. Almost every stratum of society is now connected.

But if we look at unproductive meetings, failed sales pitches, fruitless negotiations and emails that spark firestorms, it’s easy to see that we’re not always skilled communicators. Despite technological advances in communication, our ability to detect social context has deteriorated.

Fifty years of research reveals that words play only a small role in conveying meaning. Facial and other nonverbal expressions are larger contributors. And over the last decade, scientists have found that social signals are a significant, yet largely unexplored, communication channel.

This article explores new research on four key social signals and how successful people use social signals to improve leadership communication and work together more effectively.

This is a brief synopsis of a 1,500-word and a 900-word article and 5 Article Nuggets*, suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete article includes these important concepts:

  • Social Channels
  • Measuring Social Signals
  • Four Key Social Signals
    • Influence
    • Mimicry
    • Activity
    • Consistency
  • Better Leadership Communication


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