Word and images in tandem have unique power – person today sometimes listens better, in some situations looks more closely, but whatever the case is we need to be careful all the time about what we are saying and in which way – this was one of the messages from a lecture to scholars of the Hemofarm Foundation about the phenomenon of verbal vs. visual.
Students of the Faculty of Political Science have, or at least used to have, the opportunity to learn about the importance of quality communication through examples from life. One of the professors greeted each new generation with the story of a man who lost his life because the communication – in this particular case the relaying of a message – was not good. At the time, a comma in the wrong place led to the aforementioned man, who was otherwise an inmate, being sentenced to death instead of being acquitted.
This is a story about the importance of correct communication from the time of the telegraph, while today, in this most technically and technologically advanced stage of human civilisation, we face particular challenges. Due to the abundance of information and channels of communication, life in this 21st century is often reminiscent of a mega-hive in which a mass of noises and a deafening cacophony are further burdened with an abundance of images and the visual. People are today often confronted by a dilemma: who to trust more – the ear or the eye? Are the words we say or the image we offer about ourselves more important when it comes to being successful in business? Actually, the key is in treating words and images equally.
ABOUT THE POWER OF THE EAR AND THE EYE
From experience lasting more than two decades that has largely been gained in the domain of journalism, I can tell you that, although it is increasingly visual, the world cannot exist without the verbal. We know the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. I would disagree! If there is no appropriate verbalisation, the meaning of the image can remain mysterious. Just look at how many slogans of popular brands we know, while at the same time we’re not sure what their visual solutions look like.
An image and a word most often need to go together, to complement or assist one another
Of course, there are opposite examples, but all of this simply proves that an image and a word most often need to go together, to complement or assist one another.
So how do we present ourselves in the best way through a word and an image?
ABOUT THE WORDS (MESSAGES) – HOW WE BUILD A VERBAL PICTURE OF OURSELVES
Regardless of how much transformation it has experienced over the centuries, it seems that the WORD will survive everything, so we should go beyond the definition of communication as the process of sending and receiving messages. A good communicator always cleverly leads communication, because he is aware that – apart from relaying a message – it also impacts on strengthening relationships, building an impression and opening the door to various personal and professional successes.
Experience has taught me that there are five crucial factors in communication: TRUST (that’s why we should never presents facts, a situation or oneself as being different from the way they actually are), TRANSPARENCY (don’t hide information about yourself, because it is now easier than ever to acccess accurate information ), RESPONSIBILITY, or responsible behaviour towards oneself and others (including responsible behaviour in social media communication), REALITY (your personal brand should represent what you really are) and LOVE and PASSION, as the necessary spices (a job that you don’t love is one that you won’t do well or for long).
The message is ACTION, which moves things. That’s precisely why it’s important to always keep in mind that the message we send should be clear, precise and easily understandable, and – depending on the situation – both short and interesting. Whether your message will be grasped in the right way, but also remembered, doesn’t depend only on its contents, but rather also on the intonation and body language. What you have said is often marked precisely due to the way you said it. Thus, speak slower and clearer, and accentuate the right places. The way one speaks impacts greatly on the image an individual enjoys in the professional community.
ABOUT THE IMAGE – HOW WE BUILD A PERSONAL VISUAL
When it comes to the personal image of each of us, it emerges as a mix of various factors: business results and references, reputation, ways of treating colleagues, communication skills, what the business community says about the individual, but also the impression we create with our outward appearance.
The fact that we live in times when a picture often dominates is precisely why the image we have in the professional public is very important. Each of us becomes our own brand, so for this reason it is important for us to build and nurture that brand.
I believe that, in addition to good communication, other elements are important for success – such as knowledge, work, dedication and circumstances
Of course, the main pitfall lies in finding a balance between the real and the desired self in creating a personal image. The Museum of Illusions can serve as a good example. As I wondered, if just posing for pictures acts so convincingly, how much is illusory in people’s relationships when you are limited to channels and the context of communication. It is for this reason that my advice to colleagues, especially young professionals, is: “Before you move towards achieving a goal, do your own personal swot analysis, i.e. perform an overview of your strengths, weaknesses, threats and capabilities”. You will find that this meeting with “blank paper” isn’t easy.
Moreover, try to carefully consider how you see yourself, how others see you, and what you think about how others see you.
This overview of self and one’s own situation is usually very useful, so I also apply it myself in some situations.
I otherwise belong among the ranks of those who believe that, in addition to good communication, other elements are important for success – such as knowledge, work, dedication and circumstances. We may be separated from the telegraph era by centuries, but the postulates and importance of high-quality communication have not lost their importance… We need to be aware that each of our utterances in public sends a message, provides information about us, clarifies, confirms or corrects someone’s opinion, in short – influences others and, regardless of context, builds an image of us. That’s why communication doesn’t permit relaxation!
The WORD and IMAGE in tandem have a unique power – today’s person sometimes listens better, in some situations looks more closely, but whatever the case someone always follows all of your verbal and apparent selves. And don’t forget that leaders in different industries – the ones that history remembers – were for the most part also good communicators.