How Beatboxing can help business communication




Business and Beatboxing. At face value, they don’t share any obvious similarities.  Ally Yates, author of ‘Utter Confidence: How what you say and do influences your effectiveness in business there’s commonality to be exploited.

Beatboxing uses the body like a versatile musical instrument.  Imitating a variety of sounds through the mouth, throat, tongue, lips and voice. Any musical genre can be covered and while there’s a basic pattern to the art of beatboxing, the resulting vocal percussion is diverse.

The multi-vocalism of this contemporary musical form has parallels with skilled performers in business. Research in the field of Behaviour Analysis, draws upon a range of verbal ‘behaviours’, depending on the context. Like Beatboxing, there are basic behaviours that are useful in almost all business interactions.  Overlaid by other verbal behaviours for specific settings, such as meetings, sales, presentations and negotiations.

Lucas, a sourcing manager says, “Learning about behaviour has helped me to improve the way I contribute in meetings.  Limiting my own unhelpful contributions, while developing better facilitation skills through the use of Summarising and Bringing In.”

Summarising is an accurate precis of all or part of the preceding discussions. You can help the entire meeting by summarising key points at regular intervals.  In studies on skillful behaviours across a range of work situations. Summarising regularly shows up as a helpful, yet still relatively uncommon, behaviour.

Bringing In is the active seeking of a contribution from someone who has been out of the discussion for a while. A smart chairperson will notice who is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the discussion and will manage the involvement of all meeting members. If you’re managing a meeting, like the conductor of the beatboxing orchestra, you need to invite the different sections to participate. Bringing In is one way you can help the airtime to be more evenly distributed across the group. Like the beatboxer, ensure that each of the diverse contributions are heard. The other way is to use Shutting Out, a behaviour that stops another’s contribution, most typically by interrupting someone. It’s a useful, percussive device for quelling the more garrulous people who can dominate the airtime if left unchecked.

If you’re not the chairperson, sometimes you will have to shut out another person just to be heard. If you’re reluctant to speak out in meetings your attempts at using this behaviour will likely be ineffective.  A basic and helpful formula for interrupting and claiming the airtime is A + B + C = SO.  A is A non-verbal indication that you want to get in to the discussion.  Lean forward, indicate with your hand, nod your head or make eye contact in a way that communicates ‘I have something to say’. B is a Behaviour label. Use a label to prepare the audience that you want their attention. C is the Category of behaviour you use next, e.g. asking a question, suggesting an idea.  These three elements combined significantly increase your chances of ‘SO’ – Shutting Out successfully.

Jace, a finance business partner, based in Singapore said, “Understanding more about my behaviour has reminded me to remain flexible.  It has also helped me to improve my influencing style.”  As with learning any new skill it takes practice.

TNT Business

Photo credit: Panpathic Communications

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