What are the Three Communication Channels you Must Use?

George TorokCommunication skills, Insights, Presentation Tips Leave a Comment


The Three Communication Channels in Your Brain

The three main communication channels are processed by distinct areas within the brain. By using these channels correctly you leverage the different strengths of each channel. These channels are: Words, Voice and Visual.


Words and text communication channel


Your Words include both spoken words and the text on printed materials. Your words deliver the key content of your message. Smart combinations of words fulfil the task better than others. The wrong words can sabotage your intended message. Avoid the damage wrought by jargon, clichés and verbal ticks (um, ah, so).

Beware of advice from “communication experts” who proclaim that words don’t matter. Body language adherents will claim that body language is the uber language. PowerPoint designers will trumpet the doctrine of supreme slides shows. Voice coaches might sound off on the life-changing importance of your new voice.

Each of these aspects are relevant to your success but none of them stands alone as the winning edge. A Superior Presenter takes advantage of all the tools in the presentation skill set and works them like a maestro conducting an orchestra of brass, woodwinds, strings and percussion.


voice communication channel


The most important requirements of your voice are that the audience must be able to hear you and understand you. Some speakers are concerned about their accent. Sometimes an accent can be an advantage. It’s more important to slow down and clearly enunciate your words. Other factors of voice that you can learn to control are pace, pitch, pattern and the pause.

The ability to pause at the right time can boost the power of your presentation and the impact of your message. However, this simple technique is difficult to use well. So many speakers dread the pause. That’s why they fill the air with filler words and damaging phrases instead of silence.


visual communication channel


The Visual channel is likely the most misunderstood and abused of the three.

Let’s clear up a common misunderstanding. Text is NOT a visual. A visual is information that is processed in the visual cortex of the brain. Text is processed in the Wernicke’s Area of the brain. Text on paper is text. Text on the screen is still text. A visual is visual whether on paper or on a screen. Visuals are images. That includes photographs, sketches, diagrams and some charts.


In addition to images on a screen there are three other ways that you can transmit visuals in your presentation:

  • Body Language
  • Props
  • Story telling


The best use of visuals isn’t necessarily to convey the message – it’s to clarify, illustrate or reinforce the message.

Your body language is usually perceived to indicate the level of your confidence, commitment and/or credibility. Most listeners can detect a dissonance when the body language doesn’t seem to match the words. When what they see doesn’t match what they hear, they’ll tend to believe what they see. Remember that perception is more lasting than intention.


The most noticeable aspects of body language are the face and the hands. For that reason, you must be aware of what your face and hands are doing to control the related messages.

Props can add a visual engagement that slides can’t convey – especially if the audience can examine and touch the prop.

Story telling is the forgotten visual because the best stories are both emotional and visual. Recall your memories about a powerful story you’ve heard. What did you feel and what did you see?

Telling stories is an effective way to engage and persuade your audience. Be sure to include both emotional appeal and visual words in your stories.

The Three Communication Channels in Your Brain

Communication channels in the brain







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