People will tell you a lot about how they feel or what they think without saying anything. Renowned management consultant and self-described “social ecologist” Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Think about it.
A significant percentage of how you deliver a message comes through in your voice and body language. The words you choose are important but the meaning of your message can change simply by punctuating it differently. For example, My friend was waiting for the local gas company to inspect some work she had done on her home so the gas could be turned back on. The scribbled note she found attached to her door said, “You passed gas on Monday!” We giggled about this and determined the note should have read, “You passed. Gas on Monday.” Regardless of whether you’re speaking or writing, punctuation matters.
In addition to how you punctuate and use your voice, body language must be considered. Things like posture, facial expressions, gestures, and one’s appearance say a lot about how messages are sent or received. Pay attention. Listen to what isn’t being said and dig deeper for understanding. Remember, communication is really just the transfer of meaning with understanding. And, it’s the mutual responsibility of both sender and receiver to reach that understanding.