Unbranded and home on the range.

Communications Breakdown…

… 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

7 Responses

  1. Hala says:

    asheghaffff fery nice I dint know all this although im not sure id wanna feel what the other person is thinking, like what if im happy and then i run into a madman and his mood messes me up for the rest of the day? no thx

  2. Maverick says:

    Simple – you just switch off the device when you run into maniacs, sad people, deranged asylum seekers, etc.

    Or even if you run into happy people, because maybe you don’t feel like bouncing off the walls today and just want to be sad or depressed or whatever.

  3. starry eyes says:

    SubhanAllah, though I don’t think many of us need those implants, all you need to do is keep your eyes open, and ofcourse, you’ll also need to WANT to feel what the others are feeling. Or maybe some of us are more intuitive than others 🙂

    SubhanAllah isn’t it sooo amazing how absolutely unique we are? Not just body language, I’ve been into graphology for years now..and even your HANDWRITING changes according to mood. And ofcourse, there are random things like ice cream flavours, colour preferences etc. etc. etc. that tell something about your personality :O SubhanAllah :O

  4. sumaiya says:

    SubhanAllah indeed. I was learning about that when I started my child psych. course, it’s quite interesting how we, as humans communicate with one another. I like observing people when I talk to them, so I sort of experiment with them, to see if they notice when I look away and listen, or I keep an emotionless face, etc, etc. I find it fascinating and amusing at times…yeah I’m weird aren’t I.

  5. Maverick says:


    Sometimes i do that too. When you’re talking to people, instead of making normal eye contact, move the focus of your gaze away slightly … look at their nose, their lips, their forehead, or their ear. Keep doing it, while occasionally glancing at their eyes and eventually they will stop, get paranoid and ask you what the heck you’re staring at.

  6. sumaiya says:

    Like when you slightly touch your nose a few times, and they think something’s on their nose, so they’ll touch their own nose, wondering if there’s a stray booger…people always fall for that one.

    It’s funny (cute with kids) when they get all frustrated and paranoid.

  7. Mira says:

    Aaah! Now I understand better. Makes sense … hmm (now don’t get offended, because I’m giggling here lolz lolz – I can put so many of these – but tell me: does this apply to when you’re being sarcastic and mean?) ;D

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