Is there a correlation between keeping calm and being an effective communicator?

Have you heard the saying; “Anyone can communicate; however, it takes a special ability to be an effective communicator”

My interest in communication continues to expand, through observing how people (myself included) handle real or perceived pressure? The external expression of a human emotion is an interesting topic. In a sales role, living with pressure is part of the job function. For this week’s article, the question is how well do you project calmness under pressure?

I enjoy watching professional communicators articulate a key note message, they always seem to have all the time in the world and reflect an incredible level of calmness in their persona, making their story very believable.

This is certainly a major trait of world leaders in business or politics, as I consider this quality, I am drawn back to the real world, not everyone has speech writers and a controlled environment to launch a scripted story. But mastering emotions to echo a level of calmness is an inspired challenge. So can it be done; Learning the art of harnessing internal emotions to project a level of calmness?

In the 2015 series of the Australian Master Chef cooking program, it was interesting to observe how the contestants dealt with their tasks and the pressure they felt when trying to produce restaurant quality dishes by a certain deadline.MasterChef Image

What made this interesting watching is that one of the contestants displayed an incredible ability to control his emotions. Whereas with the others, they displayed all sorts of external expressions, from hand waving through to tears to revealed their inner feelings towards the pressure they were under.

As I observed this further, I found myself making internal judgements about the characters, because of the way they displayed and controlled their emotions. I saw and interpreted a weakness in their personality; yet, others who I talked to about this show, could see passion and expressed empathy towards these contestants because they shared real emotion.

Applying this to the business world, what is important; Calmness or Passion?

In business, there is an unwritten rule to be effective in commerce requires a calm level headed approach. In fact, there are thousands of articles written by business consultants specialising in this subject, with a theme that the ‘Calmness’ approach will leave a distinct impression of trust, credibility and rapport. Today, corporations call this and often rate people on their Emotional Intelligence (EI), their ability to be aware of their surroundings, the social connection, personalities whilst articulating a message.

As I pondered the Master Chef Show, I was challenged by this idea; What is Calmness? If calmness is then linked to being able to control emotions; where does this come from? and is it something we can actually control?

Researching this thought opened the flood gates on which direction this article could flow, at one level, I am keen to understandCartoon2 emotions from a physiological, and expressive behaviour point of view, which is the external display of an internal feeling, can we control this? The other direction is the psychological level, which opens a plethora of different theories on how we act in a conscious and sub conscious state.   Can we control our thoughts, therefore control our expressive behaviour?

A unified accepted understanding of the human body is that we are all integrated with a vast network of complex sensors that will automatically detect environmental changes, that will trigger changes in breathing rate, colour in the skin, muscle tensing, facial expressions, tone of voice just to name a few key external displays of the human body experiencing condition changes. Referred to as Feelings.

The bottom line is that we all have feelings; it is how we choose to react to the feelings that helps us understand how we can control our external display of emotional. There is correlation between how we manage feelings and our inbuilt self-worth.

The power is in our ability to observe and understand our own feelings. For example: In many people’s lives there is an attitude; ‘I say or act the way I want’, ‘I am who I am if you don’t like it too bad’. If fact, I am not sure of the statistic but, there would be a safe bet that there is a high percentage of the population does not give this a second thought. But, we also live in a world that sees many business transactions lost or relationships affected negatively with this type of attitude.

The EI principal is about thinking about the bigger picture.

To get into the deeper understanding of what are feelings, scientists will start this discussion that feelings are subjective, and often are shaped and learnt from the heritage of the individual’s, culture and environment.

In the Master Chef Competition, what is being displayed is an external view of the contestant’s personality, the attention-grabbing focus for this type of competition is to unearth the contestant’s real self-worth belief of themselves by applying pressure, these emotions under pressure start to manifest in an array of outpouring of physical hand waving and emotional tears. Apparently, great TV.

Does that mean the contestant who shows little emotion, has tons of self-worth, therefore is not afraid of being questioned or losing his spot in the competition? or does he/she come from an environment that is not cool to display emotions?

Either way, the challenge is if we take an EI view of the world and actually think about how we express an emotion either in body language or verbal interactions we can project a level of calmness and have the ability to move mountains through leadership, inspired and effective communication.