Maintaining Positivity in Indirect Communications

Stephanie Bishop, Contributor

How we present a message or information is as important as the message or information itself. Our delivery has a significant impact on how it is received. We all aspire to effectively communicate but may not even be aware of how we are being perceived by others. Being conscious of what “other messages” we may be unknowingly emitting is something to be considered. How our communications are perceived can make an enormous difference in morale, providing a sense of employees and coworkers feeling acknowledged, valued, respected and achieving a desired action or goal.

Smile When You Speak

People can tell when you are smiling on the phone and pick up on your enthusiasm and positive energy immediately. When you start at Maple Ridge Farms you are given a mirror. This mirror is a reminder that how you look is generally how you sound to the customers.  We encourage all to enjoy themselves while on the phone with the customers.  After all they are our partners, friends, and valued customers. We stress that our customers “hear what you see – so look in the mirror and make sure you are smiling! 

When communicating with valued people on the phone it is important to:

  • Slow down
  • Talk strong & annunciate
  • Use clear & strong answers
  • Let your individual personality shine through in your conversations
  • Keep information organized to effectively communicate
  • And thank your customers for their business!


“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Would you rather be politely asked to perform a task, or ordered with a directive of “YOU MUST”, “YOU SHOULD”, “YOU ARE REQUIRED”?  Are you typing in CAPS in your texts and emails? Not all know this is considered yelling. Attention to format and word choices in your written correspondences makes a difference.

Are you interacting personally with your coworkers and staff, or only sending out emails with a list of must do’s assuming it will be immediately read and carried out? Would a quick pleasant meeting better accomplish communicating and facilitating your goals, engaging and reinforcing everyone’s contribution personally? Are you connecting with your employees or do they only actually have contact with you when something urgent is needed or something is wrong? Have you considered how your words and ofttimes inadvertent actions make others around you feel?

In our daily personal encounters and business interactions, we speak not only with words, but with nuances that may be interpreted or perceived differently than we intended. Indirect communication, our subtle signals, often speak volumes more than what is verbalized or written. Body language, facial expressions, rolling eyes, sarcasm, crossed arms, looking away/avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, intonation and word selection may evoke a negative response in the recipient.

Do you respond to direct questions with irritation, sarcasm or quip answers because you’re busy, preoccupied or feeling poorly, or do you genuinely listen and think before responding? Does your response answer the question, give guidance and assistance or alienate the asker? Did you grimace, turn your back, walk away, sigh or roll your eyes as you answered? Did you fidget through that meeting tapping your pen on the table because you were frustrated? Did you offer a solution or fold your arms in disapproval?

Thoughts Are Powerful

Years ago, I worked for a company as a phone sales rep. The company devoted large resources to employee training and development. One of the courses addressed how what we are personally feeling is most definitely felt and picked up by others when we speak on the phone. They suggested leaving your “bad” thoughts outside, at the tree by the entrance before entering the workplace, coming in with a clean slate before picking up the phone.

The tree died in less than a year. All the other trees around the building were thriving. Thoughts are powerful. It is sometimes surprising when we become aware, we inadvertently shared them.

Personally, for the first time, I was aware of my own behaviors from this training. It was eye opening. I had not considered my sarcasm and body language to have so much of an effect on others. I have a strong personality. Sometimes I respond or react in ways that could be improved upon. I discovered my edit button needed some work. To this day, I am a work in progress.

Make yourself smile before you interact with clients, customers or co-workers. Clear your head. Take a little break. Compose your thoughts. Go for a walk. Confide in a friend. Breathe. Get some air. Rest your eyes. Cry. Pray. Meditate. Read something inspirational or humorous. If none of those things work, ask for help, assistance or advice. Sometimes just talking about what’s bothering us, being able to express, release, decompress is all it takes to get back on track.

Positivity is contagious. Try to see the positives in every situation. Give yourself and others the opportunity to express, shine, contribute and be validated. Awareness of what else we are “really saying” gives us a new perspective that may be just the motivation that creates more productivity, better communication and improved interpersonal interactions in both our business and private lives.