… and how to prevent one.
What comprises an effective, F2F conversation?
Well, the answers might surprise you:
– Up to and only 7 % is made up of the actual words you use.
– Another 38% is composed of voice cues or dynamics – tone, pitch, inflection, speed, pauses, etc.
– An overwhelming 55% is physiology – hand gestures, facial expressions, body language, eye contact / movements, etc.
(SOURCE: Tony Robbins, Learning Annex Business Conference, March 2007 Toronto)
From it I can draw the following corollaries:
– In any text-based conversation such as emails, SMS, instant messaging, written letters, and so forth it is imperative that you choose your words carefully to convey the intended and proper meaning because 90% of what you may be trying to convey, may simply just not be getting through – whether you are utilizing formal language and business jargon used in the professional world, or mere slang and colloquial vernacular used amongst friends and close acquaintances.
– Advancing further, speaking on the phone gives you greater control over how your words and ideas are perceived, since voice dynamics carry a significantly heavier impact than mere words alone. Pausing for effect at key intervals, stressing certain consonants, raising or lowering your pitch and tone all serve to clearly carry the emotions, intent and meaning behind your words. Laughter or giggling (subdued or otherwise) may convey a sense of amusement or familiarity common with friendship. Explicit and careful pronunciation of each and every word may indicate a desire to be carefully understood, and depending on tone, it may also convey annoyance, irritability or even displeasure.
– Moving on to actual F2F conversation, we find a nearly 125% increase in interpersonal communications efficiency over just words + voice cues alone, by the use of physiology. Body language that indicates tension or ease, hand gestures that may indicate stress or aggravation, balled fists that may indicate anger, loose and open hands facing the recipient indicates trust and openness, while hidden hands or hands kept behind the back indicate otherwise. Eye contact indicates honesty and confidence, lack of it may indicate the person has something to hide – while in other cultures it indicates modesty or a sign of respect. The eyes can also convey focus and subject matter interest, or lack thereof. The eyebrows and facial muscles also convey sadness, anger, happiness, concern, amusement, contempt, and so on.
These are all items to keep in mind when conversing with another party, whether for business, social or pleasure reasons. A question may be asked, could we advance any further than this?
I believe so.
It may be not too far in the future where we may see widespread use of unobtrusive implants which can control chemicals in our brains, releasing or removing certain doses into our cranium depending on the mood and intent of the person we are conversing with, providing they also have such a system. So if you desire to feel the mood of the other person you are talking to at close range, then the implant may help you feel their happiness, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and so on. This would bring a new level of empathy into our conversations and quite possibly take normal day to day conversations to a whole new level previously unknown to mankind.
Filed under: Leadership