Communication Part 3 – The Buttons We Press

Well, this is it. The final part of my 3 part series. Communication. In this finale, I will delve deep into the world of e-communication. I have always wanted to say that…delve deep into the world of… Anyway… Texting, emailing and posting are now a huge part of how we communicate with each other. This post is largely based on my opinion – however I did do a tremendous amount of research – so there are stats and facts here too. Here we go!

As a program facilitator, I have had the honour of teaching in many schools in this fine city. I mainly teach conflict resolution based courses. There is this no texting in class rule at many schools. I have to abide by it. One of my students was texting in class so I asked her to hand over her cell. She said that she was in the middle of an important conversation with one of her friends. I asked what it was about and she told me someone was bullying this girl and she was trying to resolve it using some of the skills in the class I was teaching. Yay! My message is getting through. It dawned on me though. An important conversation via text? I wonder how this message was being received.

Conflict is caused by needs not being met or by misunderstandings. Communication plays a huge role here. There have been many studies done and they have come up with this: When having a conversation, 93% of it is all non-verbal. Things like tone, body language, facial expressions, emphasis and emotion. The other 7% of it is the actual words. Factor in to this fascinating equation the fact that to some of us, words have different meanings. For instance, “Respect” can mean fear to one person while to the other it can mean being nice. So if these kids are only getting 7% of the conversation, it’s no wonder that there is so much conflict with our youth.

Because the most widely used forms of communication are texting, emailing, posting, commenting, liking and favoriting, are we setting ourselves up for conflict? Kids aren’t the only ones who send messages via electronic devices and airwaves. How can we expect to accurately participate in a conversation if we are missing the tonality, the facial expressions, the emotion and body language? This ties into another theory of mine:

Studies have shown that there is an ever increasing lack of emotional awareness with children and teenagers. As for young adults and mature adults, we are becoming increasingly “out of touch” with our own emotions. I bet this has something to do with how we communicate. How can I expect to resolve issues or communicate effectively when 93% of my intended message isn’t getting through because I am texting it on a 2 x 4 inch screen? I can use adorable little emoticons and that help to convey some of my emotion. But during a sensitive conversation, I find it hard to come up with a smiley face that can convey hesitance and vulnerability.

My mom just asked me, “And so, how can you be sure that your intended message is being properly received by the reader?” Well momma, I can’t. I can do my very best to use neutral words that have few varying meanings, I can be clear and leave little room for interpretation. And I can hope.

I would like to open up the floor for discussion here. Feel free to post your questions on my facebook page at or comment on this post. This is kinda funny because I asked you to communicate with me electronically!

In closing, I would like to add that I am not against texting, posting, commenting and other forms of e-communication. When setting up a meeting or asking your spouse to pick up some bread, these can be excellent platforms for that. Also, when keeping a record of requests or documents at work, they serve as excellent methods to do so. I just can’t help but favour the face-to-face method of conversation. I love that personal interaction. Telling my children that I love them, or my momma that I love her wouldn’t be as awesome if I only texted it to them. But that text means something too! 😀

Thanks for reading my blog!


3 thoughts on “Communication Part 3 – The Buttons We Press

  1. It has appeared to me that a blog post is not a one liner made up of acronyms or worse. The ‘more-better-clearer’ (longer is not always better) words are used in written communication, the easier it is to understand, regardless of the missing 93%.
    At the same time I realize that any written personal message can only transfer whatever we have in common with the writer. All the rest is lost.

      • Hermeneutics is the art of understanding and the theory of interpretation. If my concept of car, and your concept of car are more or less the same, we can communicate about cars, using that object-word.
        When we talk about feelings or humor, things become different. The world of examples is there to explain then what we really feel. Neither Twitter nor SMS is apt to do this adequately. I even feel that a long email does even better in that case than a long distance telephone conversation with transmission errors. WP-comments and FB-comments are also limited. There is this tendency that you want to keep it (too?) short.
        So blogs are nearly always asymmetric communication lines.
        For many/most purposes, I still see email as the most adequate long distance communication protocol and I see skype or video-conferencing as a viable alternative to real live conversations.
        In most cases, I see FB, twitter, SMS and ‘like buttons’ as sitting in a pub, without a drink, and with a bucket over your head.

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