You Are the Message

You Are the Message

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by Roger Ailes
     
 

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"You are the message." What does that mean, exactly? It means that when you communicate with someone, it's not just the words you choose to send to the other person that make up the message.  You're also sending signals about what kind of person you are—by your eyes, your facial expression, your body movement, your vocal pitch, tone,

Overview

"You are the message." What does that mean, exactly? It means that when you communicate with someone, it's not just the words you choose to send to the other person that make up the message.  You're also sending signals about what kind of person you are—by your eyes, your facial expression, your body movement, your vocal pitch, tone, volume, and intensity, your commitment to your message, your sense of humor, and many other factors.

The receiving person is bombarded with symbols and signals from you. Everything you do in relation to other people causes them to make judgments about what you stand for and what your message is.  "You are the message" comes down to the fact that unless you identify yourself as a walking, talking message, you miss that critical point.  

The words themselves are meaningless unless the rest of you is in synchronization.  The total you affects how others think of and respond to you.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A first-class book that takes you behind the podiums with the big names in politics and industry. Don't say a word until you get through this one." —The Wall Street Journal

Accomplished Media Master Reveals Deepest Secrets of Powerful Communication in a Brilliant Bestseller

"...on the money when it comes to the techniques of public speaking...interesting reading, just as Ailes himself is an interesting man." —Sam Donaldson, ABC TV coanchor of "Prime Time Live" and ABC News correspondent

"...practical, sensible and entertaining...a wonderful store of anecdotes...Ailes, unlike so many self-help book authors, has a record of success to back up his advice." —Miami Herald

"...one of the best books I've ever read." —Marvin Kitman, media critic, Newsday

"...here is truly the chance of a lifetime with one of the best speech coaches in America." —CNN

"...a tremendous help for somebody who wants to go out—or has to go out—and communicate." —ABC Talkradio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385265423
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1989
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
500,697
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

"You are the message." What does that mean, exactly? It means that when  you communicate with someone, it's not just the words you choose to send to the other person that make up the message.  You're also sending signals about what kind of person you are—by your eyes, your facial expression, your body movement, your vocal pitch, tone, volume, and intensity, your commitment to your message, your sense of humor, and many other factors.

The receiving person is bombarded with symbols and signals from you. Everything you do in relation to other people causes them to make judgments about what you stand for and what your message is.  "You are the message" comes down to the fact that unless you identify yourself as a walking, talking message, you miss that critical point.  

The words themselves are meaningless unless the rest of you is in synchronization.  The total you affects how others think of and respond to you.

ARE YOU A WINNER?

What does all this mean to you in terms of getting what you want by being who you are? What it means is that your composite message determines whether you're going to be successful in whatever career you've chosen, whether you're going to move up in the management of your company, whether you're going to be a winner or a loser, whether you're going to succeed in negotiating situations, whether you're going to become a superstar or just another droning voice who eventually gets a wristwatch at retirement.  The stakes are that high.  It's that important for you to accept that you (the whole you) are the message—and that message determines whether or not you'll get what you want in this life.

Over the past twenty-five years, I've worked with literally thousands of business and political leaders, show business personalities, and men and women who just want to be successful.  I've helped many of them learn to communicate more effectively, control communication environments, make persuasive presentations, field hostile questions from journalists or irate corporate shareholders, and generally handle the ever-changing communication situations we all find ourselves in every day.  The secret of that training has always been "You are the message." If you are uncomfortable with who you are, it will make others uncomfortable, too.  But if you can identify and use your good qualities as a person, others will want to be with you and cooperate with you.

A PERSONAL INVENTORY

Take a piece of paper and list personal assets that help you communicate. Consider your physical appearance, energy, rate of speech, pitch and tone of voice, animation and gestures, expressiveness of eyes, and ability to hold the interest of people who listen to you.  Perhaps you can add other qualities. These assets form the best part of the composite you.  Study the list to see which areas you wish to improve.  Those categories you feel less confident of are also part of your total message.  In this book, we'll show you, as the old song says, how to "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative."

"You are the message" is a new way of looking at yourself and others. Sometimes we can make mistakes about others if, as we view them, we segment them and only get a partial picture.  This person has good-looking hair; that person has no hair.  This person should lose weight; that one should gain weight.  We look at all these parts of people, but then we quickly perceive the person in totality.  You can have the greatest head of hair in the world, or the greatest smile, or the greatest voice, or whatever, but after two minutes you're going to be looked at as a whole person.  All of those impressions of your various parts will have been blended into one complete composite picture, and the other person will have a feeling about you based on that total impression.  Enough of that image has to be working in your favor for you to be liked, accepted, and given what you want.

THE UNFORGETTABLE BENNETT

Bennett Cerf, former chairman of Random House Publishing, was a man who never gave in to the pressure of growing up completely.  He was an incorrigible punster.  He would make a joke about anything and always seemed to be in good humor.  He had a tremendous interest in other people.  This quality alone made him one of the most sought-after friends and hosts in the world.  He wasn't great-looking, he didn't have a great voice, he wasn't even a great speaker, and yet he became well known on national television, where publishing house executives usually aren't public figures.  The reason? People liked Bennett!

They always had the feeling he cared about them and was interested in what they were doing—and he truly was.  He was interested in everyone he met.  After meeting Bennett and spending ten minutes with him, you would find yourself engrossed in a deep conversation about yourself.  Bennett was probing, interested, caring.  He never hesitated to offer advice or ideas.  He never held back because he thought he might lose some of himself if he gave it to others.

I had enormous respect for Bennett.  I only knew him well for a few months, but I knew him well enough to understand why people were drawn to him.  At the most serious moments, the little boy in Bennett would surface, he would say something funny, and everyone would start to giggle.  I've seen many other people who careened from crisis to crisis, but I always had the feeling that Bennett Cerf was laughing from crisis to crisis and enjoying the trip.  Bennett Cerf built a publishing empire and was a successful businessman, yet he gave the overall impression that life was a lark.

MAKING SENSE OF YOUR SENSES

For the next week, whenever you meet someone, quickly form an overall impression.  Do I like this person or not? Am I comfortable or not comfortable? As soon as the overall impression is formed, try to identify as many particulars as you can about the person.  Look at eyes, face, attitude, style, and voice.  This exercise will sharpen your instincts about people.  It will enable you to better "read between the lines" with others.  You'll quickly spot if people mean what they're saying.  You'll more readily discern nuances from others—for example, if they're tired, depressed, bored, or anxious, or if their interest has suddenly been piqued (reading other people accurately is essential if you want to succeed in any sales or negotiating situation).

Practice by writing down everything your senses tell you about each person you meet.  If you cannot list at least twelve impressions or observations, you need some concentrated work in this area.  This exercise will sharpen your instincts about people.

The fact is, our senses are always working, although we've trained ourselves to ignore them at times by tuning out.  The goal of opening up your senses and practicing this exercise is to expand the sensory radar that all of us have but that only the most astute communicators tap into.  Have you ever noticed that some people—maybe a boss, a teacher, or a friend—seem to be able to read your mind at times? The gift some people have is that they have trained their sensory radar better than you have.  You can become more like these master communicators by opening up your senses instead of shutting them down.

The fact that most of us only use a small percentage of our sensory potential is demonstrated by the heightened sensing abilities developed by certain handicapped people.  For example, the blind often hear, touch, and smell with great perception and subtlety.  It's not that their other senses are better or different than those of sighted people—they're just more acutely used.

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You Are the Message 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Phenomenal reading whether one is in the business arena or not. Ailes sets a very interesting and thoughtful blueprint for how everyone can better interact with others, thereby making life in general more successful. This book is a highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Roger Ailes is a well-known media consultant and television producer. At the time of the publishing of this book, he was president of CNBC, the cable business news network. This has given him lots of experience in communication, which he draws on for this book. His basic thrust is that communications in this modern age have been so influenced by media like television that we need to use those rules in ALL of our communications. You've only got seconds to get and hold someone's attention; you've go to be honest (or at least lie consistently); but, most importantly, you've got to be yourself. People can spot a fake, and you will do your best when you stop trying to be someone you aren't, and just be yourself. Many people think they have to become someone different when speaking in public, but it's not the case. As someone who has never had problems speaking in public, I didn't find this book to be as earth-shattering as some other people may have, but it does contain lots of good advice for people who would like to handle those situations better. I especially found his own personal reminisces about situations he dealt with to be the best parts of the book, and he uses these liberally to enhance his points. The section about dealing with the press is noteably excellent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The world is full of speaking coaches, but probably no one has a better track record for success than Roger Ailes. You may remember that Mr. Ailes helped President Reagan prepare for the critical second debate against former Vice President Walter Mondale in 1984 ('. . . I promise not to hold his youth and inexperience against him'), and was a senior media advisor to Vice President Bush in the successful 1988 election campaign. His advice is to keep it as simple as possible for the speaker by building on the speaker's own natural conversational patterns, while accentuating the positive in communicating, avoiding the negative, and adding lots of directed energy. Mr. Ailes is a great story teller, and he builds his key points with punchy, personal examples. For example, to establish his key principle about making an impression in the first 7 second you are with someone, he tells about meeting Charles Manson in prison and facing him down with steely eye contact. Manson looked away first. Afterwards, Manson was a willing interview subject. A second story builds the point by describing how a subway stick-up gang extorted money from those showing fearful body language by intimidating them. Even if the book's message was not so important, it would be worthwhile reading the book for the many wonderful stories. Mr. Ailes' basic point is to break down the art of face-to-face and televised communication into the most important elements. He encourages you to emphasize the unspoken dialogue . . . by how you use your body and respond to what others say. Listeners pay much more attention to the body language and to the emotion they feel from you than to the intellectual content of the message. This accentuated on television. Hit the mute button on your remote, and watch people talking to see his point. The whole advice could be boiled down to 'keep your conversational style. Increase the energy.' In doing this, it helps to be prepared, make others comfortable, be interesting, be committed, be likeable, and be helpful. Whatever the circumstances, he advises controlling the emotional tone of the communication. The book contains many helpful lists including one on the ten things that most hurt communications, such as not establishing adequate rapport in the beginning, or making stiff body movements. The end of the book contains a helpful user's guide that outlines all of the key points. I thought that the best advice for improving was to practice watching yourself on video tape, and evaluating your effectiveness along the lines of what Mr. Ailes suggests. The book also contains many excellent exercises for becoming better at deciding what to do as well as implementing your desires. When I first began making television appearances 20 years ago, I had the benefit of speech coaching. I can certainly agree that the advice here matches well with the experiences that I have had over the 20 years since then, and vastly simplifies what I learned during that coaching. I highly recommend this advice both for its accuracy, and for the relative ease you will feel in implementing it. After you use this valuable advice to become a much be