Many of our daily digital correspondences, both personal and professional, slip silently across virtual pathways shedding much of the human touch of the sender. In the name of efficiency, we allow our virtual selves to conduct business through quick text/email responses rather than getting tied up in face-to-face or phone conversations.
Who has time for that? 😉
Sean Convey’s text 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens dedicates an entire chapter to explaining how successful people “Seek First to Understand Before Being Understood.” He explains that when a person encodes a face-to-face message, s/he blends it using three essential elements: “words,” tone of voice, and body language. Not all of these elements carry the same importance in the successful delivery of the message. The actual words that someone selects is of minor importance…only 7% of the message. A full 93% of the message is comprised of the non-verbal cues that the sender displays during the conversation. That is why many disagreements feature the comment, “That is not what I said! 🙁 ” Maybe not in so many words…
Here is Covey’s mathematical breakdown of communication:
“words” – 7%
tone of voice – 13%
body language – 80%
Using these percentages, it is easy to see how so much of a digital message is lost when we text/email friends or colleagues. Nearly 93% of the message! When someone texts or sends an email, s/he is only sending 7% of the message, and this could ultimately cause confusion in the mind of the receiver.
Enter the emoticon :)… (a portmanteau of emotion and icon) . In an age of digital communication, this little symbol allows for the quick display of the sender’s emotional state when composing the message. Although it is an artificial replacement for actual face-to-face talking, the widespread use of emoticons may help clarify digital messages.
In preparation for 21st Century careers, should schools begin teaching a new form of digital writing that infuses emoticons into a text to pick up the subtle tones and body language of the writer?
Dr. Gregg McGough, CRI Blogger & Podcaster