Monday, September 03, 2007


I was having a conversation with Lone about communication and the roles of body language, tone, and words in communication. I don't know the exact figures, but I think it's something like 70% of your communication is your body language, 20% your tone of voice, and only 10% your words. I believe most of us have heard that, though I'm quite sure my figures are wrong.

So anyway, we were talking about that, and the fact that with internet chats, text messaging, and emails, 80% of our communication (body language and tone of voice) are effectively lost. Smiley faces help somewhat to communicate that in real life, we're smiling when we say what we say, which might have been construed as something negative if there wasn't any smiles on our faces. But take away the smiley faces, and you'll have to be very careful of what you write and the way you put your words together.

For most professional writers who write articles or reviews for newsletters and magazines, or bloggers who write for company blogs, the only form of communication they are able to use is words. No smiley faces allowed, no "=)", "=P", "=(" or stuff like *grin*, *LOL*, *smirk*, and etc. All they have are their words.

Some people say that personal interaction is best, so you can read other people better. You can understand them better because you can see their body language, hear their tone of voice, and the words they say.

Well, of course that's true. But there's something special about being able to communicate using only words too. I kind of likened it to a handicap that makes your other senses stronger, like the blind man whose sense of hearing is extra-sensitive (DareDevil comes to mind...).

When you are 'handicapped' to only be able to communicate with words, you do tend to develop sharper skills with forming your words and sentences carefully to communicate what you really want to say. Of course, it's not a real handicap, coz you can go back to using the rest of your 'senses' anytime, but while you are communicating via writing only, your sharper 'sense' of words turn on, and you use different words and sentences from what you might use if you were talking to someone face to face.

It is a skill, and now that more and more communication are going digital, we should all develop this skill, and make ourselves better understood with only words to help us.