Every Contact Leaves A Trace

Written by David Pullan

Every Contact Leaves A Trace

There is a common exchange that happens at the beginning of a second communication coaching session.


David: So what have you noticed going well since we last met?

Client: To be honest I haven’t noticed much. This week hasn’t been about communication. 


At this point I normally say, ‘So I presume you’ve been comatose. Because believe me, from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep you are communicating.’


Early last century Edmond Locard, a French pioneer of forensic science, developed 'Locard's Exchange Principle.' This theory states that when a person is at a crime scene they will always bring something to it, will always leave with something from it, and both elements can be used as evidence.


In short, Locard said that every contact leaves a trace.  It's the fundamental basis of CSI Miami and I believe that it should be fundamental to the way we think about our communication. 


Every interaction with an individual or an organisation provides evidence as to how others view us or how we view them. It builds the case for how we are judged or how we judge. 


From first meeting to final presentation we are creating perceptions about ourselves. From first call to a PA to final handshake with the CEO we are building a picture of an organisation. We are judging how we feel about others, and building the foundations for how others feel about us.


And it is the word ‘feel’ which is important here.


As Maya Angelou famously said ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’


This week I’d like you to make a conscious effort to influence how someone feels about you. 


Decide on your end goal, write it down, plan the actions that will help to create that feeling, and remember…every contact leaves a trace.


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/71022163@N00/1894778304">Watching the detectives</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>


  • W B Yeats

    'Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.'