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NARRATOR: Mike Siegel is a communications consultant, a media giant, a pop culture icon. You can find him on Wikipedia. A big-mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative, an advocate of business, a bit of a health nut, and a good mama’s boy from Brooklyn. What most people don’t know is that Mike Siegel has a PhD in communications, volunteers for several charity groups, and has dedicated much of his life to higher education, both as student and teacher. Now enjoy this presentation from Dr. Siegel.

MIKE SIEGEL: Folks, as we cover the various elements of communication, let me just make a simple point. The power of nonverbal communication is probably the most impact of any areas we consider, and there’s a reason for that. It’s not because we create our elements of nonverbal in a contrived way; it’s because nonverbal communication is really representing who we are in that communication environment, far more than the words we say. We all know that people can say things that may or may not be believable, but nonverbal communication is typically very believable, and the reason is very simple. It’s because nonverbal communication is oftentimes instinctive. It is not contrived. It is not created, and it’s not planned in the way that speech can be planned or the way that words can be planned. Nonverbal communication simply happens. And what we know from studies that have been done is that when there is a disagreement between verbal and nonverbal behavior, an audience; and again this could be one person in the audience, it could 10, it could a 1000; the audience is going to believe the nonverbal behavior because it is primarily involuntary, and it is not controlled by the participant in the communication process.

So let’s go through some of the areas because this will help understand and make this very practical for you. And understanding this is going to be extremely important to your being successful as a communicator. Just to give you an example. If you’re sitting there with one other person, having a conversation, and we’ll get into eye contact in more detail later, but just to make one quick point, if you’re looking out the door, if you’re in coffee shop, and you’re looking out the door, and that person is looking at you trying to communicate, or you’re looking at your telephone messages or your text messages on your phone, is that person going to believe that you are paying attention to them, that what you are saying is important to them?

Scott Thayer is with us once again. It’s always a pleasure to have him here. Scott, what do you think? If I’m talking to you and we’re in a coffee shop and you’re looking out the door or you’re looking at your telephone checking messages or checking text messages, and I’m trying to make a point to you and I’m communicating verbally, am I going to believe that you’re interested in what I’m saying?

SCOTT THAYER: Absolutely not! And it’s great to be here again. You know, I have 3 wonderful, beautiful children, and one of my biggest pet peeves with them is that when I’m talking with them after a discipline moment or after an issue that they need help with and their eyes are dashing around from place to place to place and my continuous encouragement to them, hey look at my eyes. Look at me when I talk to you. I think it is crucial that we understand the need for eye contact in conversation.

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