“You need to sound like you,” said Frances Cole Jones, renowned inspirational speaker, best-selling author, communication expert and entrepreneur. Jones addressed the audience gathered for the Hampton Roads Chamber’s Professional Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series on May 10, 2018 with her presentation on “How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in Any Situation.” Since its founding, Jones’ media training company, Cole Media Management, has helped countless business leaders and public figures present their best selves in business and in their personal lives.
Jones spoke to a packed ballroom at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach-Norfolk Conference Center, helping us understand and consider the global impact of one’s message. There are three components to every message: verbal, vocal and visual. She also shared the three elements that are crucial to any face-to-face interaction: words, tone of voice and body language. With these three elements come three staggering statistics: people only remember 7% of the words you speak, your tonal quality accounts for 38% of the impact of your message and 55% of your message’s impact comes from what your body is doing while you are speaking.
Jones showed that she practices what she teaches through the power of storytelling. She was engaging, impactful and kept the audience laughing as she incorporated real-life situations that anyone could imagine themselves in. One such situation is cutting people in line at the market. The initial reaction from the person you are cutting in front of – is anger. However, providing a simple explanation such as “you need to pick up your son from school,” will turn some of that anger into understanding. The tone of your voice and how you react will affect the way others perceive and treat you.
To demonstrate the importance of tonal quality, Jones had us place one hand on our abdomen and turn to a neighbor. If your hand moved while you were talking, then that meant you vocalized words using your diaphragm. People who use their diaphragm speak with a clearer tone and are therefore, perceived better. Jones also demonstrated how it is the small things that can have a profound impact in your communication with others. When seated at a table, she always looks to see if a person’s hands are in full view. “We trust you when we can see your hands, we don’t when we can’t.”
Towards the end, Jones answered questions from the audience. “In a restaurant, is it better to sit next to the person that you are meeting or across from them?” Jones says sitting across the table will allow for better communication. “People love it when you value their time.” The person you are conversing with should feel that you care. The key to successful communication with others is to, “Let them set the agenda.”
Thank you to our sponsors: Series Presenting Sponsor, Bon Secours; Series Luncheon Sponsor, Cox Communications; Series Luncheon Sponsor, Tidewater Home Funding; Series Luncheon Sponsor, Union Bank & Trust; and the Official Airline Sponsor of the Professional Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series, Southwest Airlines.