Communication Breakdown


90% of all communication is everything but the content of the words. People are always communicating, in fact, people can not NOT communicate. How many different ways can you say hello to someone? Remember how you ran into the guy who you had a falling out with years ago or when you bumped into to your friends ex-husband who you despised. How were these ‘hellos’ different from meeting your best friend from college for happy hour or from how you greeted your beloved son when he returned home from California for the holidays?

I was recently working with a couple who had significant communication difficulties. The woman became upset when her husband said to me, “See how angry she gets, she is always so defensive…” The wife, on cue, said, “I never said I was angry…and I’M NOT DEFENSIVE!” Now I was afforded the opportunity to gently suggest to her that no, perhaps she did not SAY she was angry or defensive, but that, indeed, she was absolutely communicating her frustration, anger, and defensiveness.

So the content of our words accounts for just about 10% of what we are communicating. How we say the words, the intonation, the facial expression, the body language constitutes the genuine intent of the communication. So if I were King of the World texting would be banished to Siberia and people would begin the process of reconnecting with the respectful art of communication.