"Face-to-Face" Communication

Communication is a great challenge today. In today's generation, many grew up in the digital age and  are more comfortable with "non-face-to-face" communications through writings,"sms", "watsapp", "wechat" etc

In fact many have more friends on "social media" like facebook rather than actual physical friends like in the time of old.

Communication skills have been lost. The younger generations are awkward, lost for verbal words and are poor in initiating and sustaining a conversation. Even, if they do , they are usually "short, straight and blunt." Communication is poor and messages poorly received and sometimes miscommunicated.

What is effective communication?

We all heard of 1) non-verbal and 2) verbal communications.

There are studies suggesting that a majority of communication is "non-verbal". 

A study by Mehrabian and Weiner (1967) and Mehrabian and Ferris (1967)  quoted 55/38/7 formula which meant 55% of the communication is body language (ie non-verbal), 38% is the tone of the voice, 7% is the actual words spoken.

Thus, we need to be conscious on "how" we deliver (ie non-verbal) rather than "what (the words ie verbal)" we communicate to the other party in order to be effective communicator.

Tone of Voice: this includes inflection, tone (low, medium or high pitch), volume and pronunciation. This is "how" things are delivered and said and therefore received.

Kinesics: this includes hand gestures, body movements, facial expressions eg waving your hands or folding your arms or leaning forward convey different messages like emphasizing a point, encouragement, diplomacy, defensiveness.

Eye-contacts: it usually connects you with the other party or audience. There is a feeling of connectivity and camaraderie. A level of trust, closeness and "rapport" usually ensue.

Personal Space or territory: individual, subconsciously, is defensive and feel threatened and become uncomfortable and hostile, if his/her personal space is being invaded.  There are appropriate conventions to this which ranges from intimate (0-45 cm), personal (45-120 cm), social (120-360 cm) and public ( greater than 360 cm). Public speaker usually stays within a certain comfortable distance depending on the room and the audience size. Moving around the audience gives the speaker a stronger presence and attention.

Tactile sense: It is the use of touch. This is powerful, although it could be inappropriate in some culture. A touch on the shoulder or wrist encourages and often connotes a certain level of closeness and friendship.

Tools: the use of IT applications, instruments, props and illustrations etc in driving a point is of importance. Clothing, accessories could also be used to communicate a role, hierarchy or social status

Finally, a combination of proper, appropriate and consistent non-verbal and verbal communications is used to deliver and drive a message with clarity or a persuasive presentation that leads to positive action in a work place.


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