Verbal, Vocal, Visual is Essential in Effective Communication In Everything

by | June 16, 2022

In 1960 a series of presidential debates were held between then-Vice President Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. The outcome produced some very interesting results that made the difference.

After the debate, pollsters surveyed the public to see who had won.

Interestingly, the results were atypical. One group of respondents claimed that Nixon had won by a lot. Another group of respondents felt that Kennedy had clearly won.

What was most interesting was that these two groups each had a similar makeup. For instance, it wasn’t that one group was mostly Republicans and the other Democrats. Or that one group was from the North and the other from the South. etc.

Rather, the difference was that people who listened to the debate on the radio felt that Nixon had clearly won. Conversely, people who watched the debate on television believed that Kennedy was the clear winner.

Here is one of the videos of the debate.

So what is the business lesson here?

The lesson is that business communications can comprise up to three factors — Verbal (the words you say), Vocal (the pitch, speed, volume, etc. of your voice), and Visual (what the audience sees).

When you communicate with important audiences (investors/venture capitalists, customers, partners, etc.), we typically rely on email (verbal), telephone (verbal + vocal), or in-person (verbal + vocal + visual).

When you are able to combine all three factors, as you can do in an in-person meeting, you can generally convey the most effective and powerful message (if you practice it of course). It is the same when you talk with friends and family. I try to at least call if it is going to involve any time

With everyone texting as the means to stay in touch with one another the art of communication has gone away. Texting has led to so many misunderstood messages that I have sent and received since that darn stuff was invented, I wish more people would just call. Can you imagine what it would be like if we went back to the old days when face-to-face meetings were the norm?

So, while email or telephone may be the most efficient communication method, if there is a potential partner, investor, customer, employee, etc. that you absolutely must convince to say “yes” to you, you must go the extra mile to get the face-to-face meeting (or at least Zoom or web conference meeting).  Also, take a moment to at least make a FaceTime or Zoom call as well so you can see them light up when they hear your voice and see your bright smile!


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