Opinion

Effective communication? It just depends

If communication is only 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal, why is everybody always talking so much?

I guess it depends on who you’re speaking with.

Or maybe it depends on the person doing the guessing.

I think, like many things in life, there is no one size fits all answer regarding communication.

One thing that verbal and non-verbal forms of communication have in common these days is that no matter which form of communication you’re using, everyone is trying to draw attention to themselves.

Sometimes that means you say a lot of stuff.

Sometimes that means you swing your arms and move your hands a lot.

It just depends. I guess.

I’m glad we can get our point across more often than not—no matter which mixture of verbal and non-verbal communication we employ at any given time.

A lot of whether our communications hit home or not involves or depends on, who our audience is. Public speaking gurus always advise knowing who your audience is.

I do agree that it may help someone preparing to give a speech if they know who their audience is. But, as a musician who’s played many a gig without knowing a single person in the audience, I could take objection to the premise that in order to speak or perform or play or sing effectively and successfully in front of a crowd, you should know your audience.

What may be more important regarding speaking than knowing who your audience is? I would suggest the ability to improvise effectively would be the greatest skill to possess rather than having actual speaking and diction coaches get you through the event by helping you prepare a script.

Coaches, whether they be life, public speaking or music, do not have all the answers. If they did, they wouldn’t need to teach. Besides, when did teachers become coaches or prefer to be called coaches? I don’t know that they ever did. Someone on Madison Avenue probably advised us to change our title from teacher to coach because it’s more marketable.

Which leads us to being in the majority.

Why would we want to communicate, speak and gesture in the same manner as everyone else? Why do we let ourselves become easily influenced by what supposedly works for the majority?

If we share in my earlier thought here that everyone communicating is trying to draw attention to themselves, what would happen if as individuals, we went through life without being noticed by anyone other than our immediate family or circle of friends?

Would we be unhappy?

Would our lives be worse off because we lost out in the popularity contest the rest of the world was participating in?

I would answer no.

That is because being unnoticed can be a comfort.

The hell you say?

What about all the celebrities who complain they can’t go to the grocery store or gas station because everyone notices them and then bothers them by approaching them?

These individuals are the ones who truly do not know what they want out of life.

Overnight successes are gone in a flash.

Those who’ve spent years and taken great measures to be noticed and enjoy success in their chosen field of work because of it are the worst offenders.

Why complain about privacy intrusions when you’ve done your best to lead a non-private life in order to enjoy success in your job (which just happens to involve being noticed and receiving lots of likes)?

Some have read this far and don’t know what else lies ahead. I’ve chosen this to be the beginning of the end of this post and would advise not trying to break this down at all. In fact, it’d be the equivalent of trying to figure out what a songwriter means in one of their songs.

Whether you understand the words or not, the combination of the lyrics and melody makes your body and mind happy—especially when you’re not thinking too intently on what the point is.

Which is exactly what I’ll leave you with: Like beauty, effective communication is in the eye of the beholder or the person on the receiving end of the missive.

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