Communication is extremely important because it affects all areas of our lives.
One of the presuppositions of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is that the responsibility for communication lies with the person doing the communication.
In other words, if you have a message that you want to get across, the responsibility is all yours.
So how do we communicate with each other?
According to studies by Birtwistle and Mehrabian, in the late sixties and early seventies, 55% of our communication is through our physiology, in other words non-verbal.
So, for example, if somebody puts their finger up to their lips, you know what to do: be quiet.
Or if they’re hanging their head in an abject way, you know perhaps that something bad has happened.
Instead, if you see me smiling broadly, you know that I’m happy.
- So 55% is through our physiology, no words needed.
- 38% is voice tonality.
Voice tonality has nothing to do with your accent, it’s literally the tone of your voice, high or low.
Let me give you an example and this happened to me.
I was born in Brazil in an Italian family. Brazilians and Italians are loud. Then, I got a job in Angola, west coast of Africa. Angolans are very lively, in other words, loud as well. So, I moved from one loud country to another loud country.
Then, in the late nineties, I decided to come to England. To Cornwall, a very quiet place.
However, I didn’t change the way I was or used to be. Also, I didn’t change my communication style.
So, when I got a job at the Tate Gallery I was very loud. Indeed, people thought I was shouting. Instead, I was just talking like I’ve always talked, either in Brazil or Angola, like that and I didn’t understand why everybody thought I was shouting because I was not shouting!
Now, would you have worked with me? Every day, eight hours a day? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t have worked with me.
So, I learnt the hard way that for me to be able to communicate here in this country, I needed to tone down, calm down. And I did.
The funny thing is when I go back to Brazil, now I think that everybody is shouting at me!
The last part of our communication, the last part of how we communicate, the last 7% of how we communicate are words.
Even though it’s only 7%, words are extremely important.
The words you choose to communicate and the words you put in the mega-structure which is language.
They’re extremely important: in my next article, you can read about the power of the words we use with the others and with ourselves.
Register for a free consultation, we can talk about your confidence or communication issues. And if it’s not you, but a person you know, or a friend, share this article with them. I’d love to help them!