Entrepreneur Communication: “Words are more powerful than anything non-verbal”

Communication: “Words are more powerful than anything non-verbal”

Michel Besson is a commercial intelligence and economic intelligence professional. He published in September 2021 with Mardaga editions, “Winning communication techniques, the power of words and silence”.

As an expert in communication, he gives practical advice to master his psychological brakes, convince and achieve his objectives. An art to cultivate both daily and in business.

Your method of communication is based on a concept called “black box”. Can you explain it to us?

Each of us has his black box which stores our failures, our annoyances and even our complexes on the physical level. It is the memories of unhappy experiences that condition our exchanges and that constitute obstacles to successful communication.

Thus, a car salesman, who is convinced that his vehicles are too expensive, will himself suggest it to his prospects and since most customers find everything too expensive, his job will become a nightmare. This black box will be activated all the more as the constraint is strong. For example if the prospect is his biggest customer who wants to renew his car fleet.

The first piece of advice I give to overcome your black box is to master your vocabulary and conjugation. For example, the use of the imperfect is the proof that the black box speaks for you: prefer “I would like to speak to the director, please”, to “I wanted to know if I could speak to the director “.

Paradoxically, you praise silence. Why ?

Learning to be silent is fundamental because the less we say, the less we risk pronouncing unfortunate words, generating conflicts or hurting people. It is also a real technique of information to obtain the answer to a question which one did not ask.

Silence allows you to keep a cool head to prepare for the next question. Moreover, the less I say, the less I will let my black box speak. In order not to reveal myself, I really like the technique of “that is to say” or “why” to restart the conversation and thus obtain as much information as possible from the person you are talking to.

Many communicators believe that the non-verbal (gestures, rhythm, tone, silences, movements) represents nearly 90% of communication. Why do you support the importance of words?

This is one of my originalities. I propose to leave aside the non-verbal, unless you are a lecturer, because it is a matter for specialists. You should not extrapolate or make assumptions about the non-verbal of your interlocutor either. For example, the fact that your interlocutor crosses his arms during a conversation may simply be his habit and not the confirmation that we have spoken nonsense.

I believe much more in using the right words to avoid language tics or ready-made expressions like “thing, I admit, sometimes, suddenly, finally or I say that, I say nothing”. You must speak in clear, direct and polite language. My belief is that words are more powerful than anything that we integrate into the non-verbal.

You also recommend a good dose of nerve. How to implement it ?

The right nerve makes it possible to fight against resistance and the imprints of the black box on our fears. It emboldens you, frees you from those devil’s advocates who say in advance that you won’t make it. Thus, each time I take part in a colloquium, I create the incident by asking disturbing questions, but with discernment. To get there, you have to go in small steps and set achievable goals.

The trigger will come, authorizing increasingly ambitious attempts. I thus challenged a prefect on the occasion of a conference on credit mediation, suggesting the use of commercial intelligence as a substitute for credit insurers. I placed the name of my company during my speech and at the end of the meeting, a dozen prospects were waiting for me.

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