Words, Tone & Body Language / Gestures
Communication means conveying message to another person. When we communicate with someone we convey the message through words, tone and body language.
The division of the message conveyed by these three forms of communication is very dramatic. So much so, that it makes one wonder how many times I have taken wrong message out of other persons communication. This is due to relying on words only or by missing out any one of the remaining means of communication.
Body language or Gestures :
Whenever we communicate, the body language comprises of 65% of the message.
This is massive! This means that we miss more than 50% of the communicated message when we’re not looking at the person. For example when we’re talking on the phone. Also when we’re busy looking at something else when talking to the other person.
The tone conveys 30% of the message.
They are merely 5% of the communication.
Now these stats are not to be taken as 100% rule in all conversations. We can apply them in various situations with minor differences. We can have an idea about how much we’re getting the point and how much we’re missing it if we realise which part of communication we’re missing.
Lets have an example to see how much body language and tone affect the meaning of any conversation and words spoken in it. Imagine you have just passed your very important exam and one of your close friend comes to your home to celebrate it with you. Your brother opens the door. He tells your friend that you’re in your room and your friend simply enters your room, shuts the door and yells: “bastard! asshole! you passed the exam! “
Now the other person , your brother, is standing outside the room. If he relies on the words only, he will think that the person who entered the room was your enemy. If not enemy then probably someone jealous of you. This might annoy your brother. However, his tone would dictate that he is saying them with joy and in fun! You can imagine them in your head. See how much difference the tone made and turned the meaning of the words. If your brother might get up to check inside the room that what happened to this guy and why is he abusing you, he sees his arms open and moving towards you to hug you, while continuing abusing you, he will definitely get the complete message and idea that he is some very close friend and is saying all this in fun and joy.
So gentlemen, sequence is body language, tone and then the words. Don’t turn the sequence otherwise. It’s always important to discuss important things and sensitive issues face to face. It’s important because then gestures and tone are there too along with the words being spoken for both the people. If not, then at least tone should be there to have added 30% of the message being conveyed. However 65% would still be missing!
Let me know what are your views and experiences regarding all this ?
Great stuff. Totally agree. I think women are about 3x as effective at reading body language as men as well, so I ended up writing this piece on common gestures so us men can get up to speed. Thanks for the article.