The Art and Science of Communication

English: Persusasion (Jane Austen Novel). For ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone’s life is affected by how we communicate with others. What we say, how we say it, and what moves our body makes signals to other people. Are you conscious of what this message is telling the people you are communicating with? Are you aware that your body communicates a message?

  “Certain kinds of bodily cues often combine more than one type of coding. For example, confident people who are receptive to the ideas of those with whom they communicate often show “open” gestures and postures, by way of uncrossed arms and legs.” 

    Successful Nonverbal Communication, Dale G. Leathers, Allyn and Bacon, 1997

  Job interviews, sales pitches, public presentations all need the best communication skills. Persuasion influences our lives in many ways and we use communication to persuade. We want the job so we try to persuade the interviewer that we are the best candidate. We need the sale to get paid so we try to persuade the purchaser that the product we have to sell will meet their needs. Communication with words and body language is how we influence others to trust us.

 Studies have suggested that 98% of what we do is because someone else persuaded us to do it. At the job site it would probably be the boss/supervisor/foreman, at home it might be parents/spouse/room-mate, and for all the other activities in our lives it is probably because of advertising on television, newspapers, and social media. These studies imply that you think original thoughts 2% of the time.

So for the next few  posts I am concentrating on the art and science of persuasion, interviewing, and nonverbal communication


6 thoughts on “The Art and Science of Communication

  1. Body language is also the first language we “speak”. When a baby cannot yet talk with words, it is still communicating with you through body language, is it not? Thus it is a language, also, that everyone around the world understands from the day of birth!

    Unfortunately, the power of body language isn’t yet fully appreciated enough by every day people (i.e., those who are not politicians, actors, or talk show hosts).

    I would however question what the study means by saying we only think “original thoughts” 2% of the time. Perhaps only 2% of our attention is directed to objects of our choosing, actions that we willed, or perceptions that we choose to sense; but it doesn’t make sense to quantify the amount of thoughts that we have “as our own”. If you are repeating what someone else said verbatim, is it not still you that chose to repeat those words, though they be someone else’s? What would qualify, then, as an “original thought”? One may always choose to disobey the boss at work, but instead they choose to obey the boss. Are these not equally “original thoughts”, if thoughts at all? As for how the actions you choose affect your “originality” or “authenticity” – this is an all together separate question.


    1. Thank you for commenting about a post I wrote. The 2% original thoughts were not about what chose you make. You have free will to always decide yes, no, I will do this or I will do that. The 2% is about actual original creative ideas. Only a very few people ever think new thoughts and ideas and we label them geniuses. Bill Gates for example did not originally think up the idea computer code. What he did was create a new language, DOS, that was cheap, easy to copy, and simple enough that the masses could use it.
      Da Vinci was an original thinker. His biggest problem was he could not get funding for the majority of his ideas, he was thinking hundreds of years ahead of his peers. He had working submarine and helicopter designs, and many others that only became available to the market or public in the twentieth century. People who we call great actually copied hundreds of year old ideas.

      Dinner is calling me now. I do appreciate your comments.

      Best wishes


  2. One of the most terrifying offers I ever received was from the “Teaching and Learning” center at my university, which sent out emails to all instructors telling us we could have someone come in and videotape us teaching. I still haven’t taken them up on it, but the more I read on this topic–and your post is really interesting–the more I feel I should do it. I certainly pay attention to my body language, but there seems to be a lot that you can’t know about your own nonverbal communication without being forced to see it from the outside. I think such practices could be good for preparing for interviews also. Have you ever heard of people doing that?


    1. Thank you for commenting about the post.
      Yes I have experience taping people to improve themselves for public speaking courses I instructed at university level. These were then reviewed and critiqued by other students, myself, and the student that gave the presentation. When the formal presentation was given in class, the student felt very comfortable because they had noticed over the few weeks we taped and reviewed that they did improve. They also became comfortable because the fear of what others might say was diminished by them actually sitting and listening to others critique their performance for the weeks preceding the actual graded performance. Practice does make perfect.
      I would suggest you follow the same plan. Tape yourself for a week or two if possible, then review it with peers and family (they are the hardest critics) and then allow them to tape you teaching the class.
      It is better for your self-confidence to notice and improve mistakes in private then to notice them while it is being broadcast in an open public setting.

      I hope I answered your question. If not or you would like further discussion please feel free to reply to this.

      Best wishes,


      1. Thanks–that’s a good idea. I didn’t think of taping myself privately first. I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with it just from doing Skype with a few people; I’ll think about doing a teaching practice at home and watching that.


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