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No Matter What You Say, the First Thing People Pay Attention to Is Only How You Say It

No Matter What You Say, the First Thing People Pay Attention to Is Only How You Say It

Regardless of the communication methods that we use in the modern age, we have a tendency to focus heavily on the words that we use to interact with others.

While words are a seminal part of engaging others, however, successful interpersonal communication relies on a number of additional factors such as body language, facial expressions and the overall context that relates to each message.

If you believe that the content of your message is more important than its delivery, you are misunderstanding interpersonal communication.

In this article, we are going to delve deeper into the numerous types of interpersonal communication that exist, so that you can determine which best suits your personality and outlook as an individual.

We will also be providing you with actionable items that you can follow right away, many of which can be used to influence your interpersonal communications going forward.

There are three main types of interpersonal communication.

The following types of interpersonal communication are what most of us use every day, but we probably aren’t very aware of each of their impact on our everyday interactions.

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1. Verbal Communication: Speaking and Listening

The main and most evolved type of interpersonal communication is verbal, as this combines numerous elements such as message, tone and in some instances nonverbal cues (more on this below).

Verbal communication includes both speaking and listening, both of which contribute towards successful and progressive communications.

We can also communicate verbally across a range of channels, most typically in-person or over the phone.[1] In the digital age, we can also converse through video messaging resources like Facebook and various video messaging apps.

2. Written Communication: Writing and Texting

In many ways, written communication offers a safe haven for those who struggle to express themselves or interact openly with others. While it is possible to communicate both formally or informally in writing, this medium places a stronger emphasis on the message in question and eliminates factors such as tone and body language.

Once again, however, modern technology has created more spontaneous and accessible channels for written communication. From SMS messaging to Twitter microblogs, written communication has gradually become increasingly more diverse and real-time in its delivery.

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3. Nonverbal Communication: Gestures and Body Languages

We have already touched on nonverbal communication, which can occur whenever we interact with others in person (or through video chat). This can manifest itself in a number of different ways during real-time communication, including facial expressions, body language and related hand gestures.

This type of communication is the most difficult to interpret, as it is completely subjective and hard to observe while participating in a verbal conversation. It is also the most fascinating type of interpersonal communication, however, and one that can add context (and in some instances contradict) the words that we use.

Adapt these universal tips to improve your day-to-day communication.

With these points in mind, it is easy to understand the diverse nature of interpersonal communication. Fortunately, there are a number of actionable and universal tips that enable you to improve your interpersonal skills, including the following:

Facts are not the be-all and end-all.

While facts are a central part of any conversation, particularly in the workplace, those with superior interpersonal skills understand that they are not the only consideration. After all, you can you can spend as much time as you like researching the content and the accuracy of your facts, but this means little if you do not deliver them in a convincing and engaging manner that invokes feeling.[2]

The recent election in the U.S. provided a relevant case in point, as while Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton failed to resonate with voters despite her considered approach to interpersonal communication, her rival Donald Trump flourished amid a number of inaccurate claims and fabrications.

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This has much to do with Trump’s emotive and colloquial delivery, which appealed to many voters’s fears, insecurities and partisan biases.

There is a difference between tactile and sugar coating your message.

As anyone who has ever received bad news can testify, there is nothing worse than instances when somebody sugar coats their message. After all, on occasions where individuals are laid off from work or given bad new by doctors, those delivering the message tend to establish the tone with their nonverbal communication long before they begin to talk.

While it is important to deliver any bad news tactfully, you also have a duty to be direct and emphasize the full gravity of your message for the benefit of the listener. This avoids confusion and creates a genuine sense of understanding, while it also ensures that the listener does not feel patronized or as though you are being insincere.

Finally, consider the message, context, noise, feedback and channel when communicating with others.

While all communications start with an underlying message and the words to deliver this, you need to ensure that you consider the other elements that contribute to progressive, interpersonal communication.[3]

The first consideration outside of your message is context, particularly in terms of the the situation that you choose to communicate. This can influence how a particular message is perceived, as especially when there is a conflict between the tone of the communication (which may be formal) and the location in which it takes place (which may be informal).

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Noise and feedback are also key considerations, and you must distinguish between the two when communicating with others. Noise has a special meaning in communication theory, as it relates to anything that can distract listeners or distort the message that is being delivered. This includes complicated language, tone and conflicting body language, and it is important to minimise noise at all times.

Conversely, feedback relates to the messages that are imparted by the listener at different times, and it is crucial that you listen to and follow these as closely as possible. This allows you to determine whether or not your message has been received accurately, and if not it also delvers prompts which help you to adapt your communication style or repeat key pieces of content that may have been missed.

We have the channel that you use to deliver a particular message, as this also has a direct influence on how it is perceived. We have already touched on this when appraising alternative types of interpersonal communication, with written and verbal techniques all leveraging alternative platforms.

Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

Reference

[1] Important India: Types of Interpersonal Communication
[2] Soft Skills – Ask a Wharton MBA: What is Interpersonal Communication – Definition and 3 Myths
[3] Skills You Need: What is Interpersonal Communication?

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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