This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors. People often feel – mistakenly – that business success revolves around communications skills. Psychologists define metacommunication as the sum of your verbal and non-verbal communication. Managing your metacommunication involves purposefully choosing where you want to leave your bricks, every time you open your mouth. If you were to challenge any of these people about what they said, they would all stubbornly insist that they were right. Unfortunately, they each lose sight of their overall body of work: that they are acting like pests, constantly talking to employees in a tone of voice that would curdle milk, or erecting a concrete wall of soulless policies.

So here is the real secret of metacommunication: we (and our businesses) do not get judged on what we say – we get judged on whatever bricks are piled up behind us. Rich Gallagher is a former customer service executive and practicing therapist who heads the Point of Contact Group.
For example, if you say “Glad to see you” to someone and roll your eyes at the same time, they will not feel that you are actually glad to see them. Every time we communicate with someone, no matter what the subject matter is, we place a brick in a pile. I honestly feel this is one area where most people – even those who claim to communicate well – don’t pay enough attention.
That they were just checking back, really did need to correct something, or felt their policy was important.

His books include two #1 customer service bestsellers, “What to Say to a Porcupine” and ”The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Your Worst Customer Situations,” both released by AMACOM.
A broader definition would be that metacommunication involves how people perceive you, not just your words. These piles are marked with labels such as “I am prickly and defensive” or “I am kind” or “I try to please people” or “I don’t care.” Whether your actual message is correct or not, a brick is always placed somewhere.
He has taught over 30,000 people what to say in their worst customer and workplace situations.

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Comments to Definition of verbal communication in business


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