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Sound Communication

It’s interesting that in the early days of the pandemic, and the associated lockdown, Zoom became a must-

have technology for maintaining contact. Work continued remotely and online, news interviews gave us a glimpse into politicians’ and health experts’ homes, families discovered the delights of the virtual pub quiz.

Now almost a year on, and in the early stage of another, and as yet unlimited, lockdown people are citing Zoom-fatigue and screen weariness and as barriers to easy communication. The confusion of whom to look at in the ‘Gallery view’, who is to speak next, and continual cries of ‘Un-mute yourself’ leads us to question: “Is there a better way?”

Sound communication has been with us – literally – since before we were born. In the womb a baby experiences, at a very physical and intimate level, the power of sound to convey occasion, relationship and emotion. As we grow through childhood into adulthood, we never lose that potential for sound to touch us deeply and to trigger powerful responses. It can be front of mind or ambient, immersive or superficial, requiring attention or received subliminally. Whichever way it reaches you, sound will have an impact on you.

Coaching is often described as one of the ‘Talking Professions’ and using the power of sound is central to what we do. We use language, non-vocal sounds and even pauses between sounds to exchange thoughts and feelings that impart empathy, create understanding and build mutual respect. In that way we see past the outer visual shell – the presentation layer – through to the innermost needs and wants, issues and concerns of our clients.

That’s not to say body language and non-aural clues are unimportant but they can distract from the choice of words, the tone of voice, and the pace and cadences of the speech pattern that can convey deeper meaning.

So, as we face many months of uncertainty and, let’s face, it no reason to navigate the hustle and bustle of commuting to work perhaps it’s time to get back to sitting back and immersing ourselves in that oldest of communications media: sound.

Steve Paul is a Transformational Coach and Consultant.


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