The Art of Communication: Are You Conveying More than You Realise?

When we hear the word ‘communicate’ the thing that pops into our mind instantly is this: WORDS. Whether they are spoken or written, words are the universal language of communication. But is that all there is to it?

It may come as  a shock that words only account for 7% in a communication. Only 7%! What about the other 93%? It is made up of  your tone of voice (38%) and your body language when you say those words (55%).

These verbal and nonverbal cues need to be delivered in perfect harmony to convey the right message to your boss, client or even co-worker. Saying “I am really interested in doing business with you,” while rolling your eyes does  not really serve the purpose, right?

the art of communication

The three components of communication

1.      Words (7%)

Contrary to popular belief that content is king in communication, the reality is that it accounts for the lowest part (only 7%) of the total message. Why is this so? The words or the content of our communication can only truly be king if they are in unison with the two nonverbal cues, which are tonality and body language.

2.      Tonality (38%)

Tonality includes our tone of voice, timbre, tempo, and volume. Saying, “I am confident” to your boss in a low, husky voice does not convey confidence. The same thing goes when  saying, “I am excited to be here today,” with a flat intonation.

3.      Body language (55%)

At the same time, body language accounts for more than half of our communication. This means that your facial expressions, whether you’re  smiling, widening your eyes, stretched, or in pain are the best way of getting  your message across. Plus, your body movement and  posture also give signals that you may not even be aware of.

So the next time you’re going to meet your client, your boss or your co-workers, remember it’s not just your words they’re paying attention to!

This article is modified from the Institute of Management training module: Business Communication Skills. For more information about the course, please visit our website.