The 7% Rule

#inspiration, communication, non-verbalMy back went up immediately when I read the email. Here was the judgment I’d been expecting since being vulnerable and admitting my problem.

I’d been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming support and encouragement I’d received. Now, this one negative came along and was having a much bigger effect on me than it should. I was upset with myself and the person who sent the message.

Upon reading the email again, I discovered the comment made was neither negative nor positive. It was simply a neutral statement. Since this was a sensitive topic for me my interpretation was negative and I took offense.

The fact is only 7% of communication is the words. I was not getting the 38% that is made up of the tone of voice, inflection and volume. Also missing was the 55% that facial expression and body language represent.

When I read something I need to take into consideration how I’m feeling at the time. My emotions can change the tone of what I read and turn an innocent statement into something offensive.

The same hold true with my communication with others. Sometimes, even with more than the 7%, my intentions are misunderstood. I need to take responsibility for my words and also for how I react to those directed to me.

How about you? Do you also get caught up in the words and your emotions and forget the 7% rule?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Speaking Without Words

words, non-verbal“Am I being mean?” I asked. The response I received was, “No, it’s just another form of communication.”

You see, the woman in front of me in the aquafit class kept backing up. There was no room for me to move without crowding someone else. I was sure it wasn’t intentional and knew I’d been guilty of the same thing on occasion.

Two of us had gently pointed out her roaming and it seemed rude to keep asking her to move. Instead, I chose a non-verbal method of communication. I splashed more as she got too close! This proved to be effective at moving her forward again.

It is said that only 7% of our communication is verbal. I started looking for other examples of this.

On the far side of the pool, two young children danced with abandon to the music playing in the facility. It was easy to tell they were happy and carefree.

Have you ever taken one look at a friend and known there was something wrong? I’d just experienced that. I looked at someone, saw great sadness and gave him a hug. Non-verbally he had let me know he was hurting and I let him know I cared.

We speak with our eyes, our facial expressions and our body movements. My tone of voice can also convey a meaning quite opposite to my words.

If I can read this in others, they must be able to do the same when looking at me. Knowing this, I wonder; is my non-verbal communication keeping people from getting too close or drawing them near?