We spend 70% of our waking hours communicating, but typically only recall 25% of what we heard. Communication is effective when we show respect for relationships, speak in a way so that our message is correctly received, and listen so that we increase our knowledge of people and situations.

Listening is the first step to making your interactions count. When listening to others, regardless of the relationship, focus on what they are saying without interrupting. When the person is done speaking, it may be helpful to repeat some of what you heard to ensure you understand their message.

When speaking, convey your thoughts clearly. Establish a goal for the conversation before initiating it. Be aware of your tone of voice and avoid using sarcasm, especially in a professional setting. It is also important to pay attention to your body language, studies show that up to 55% of a message is conveyed through non-verbal elements. Below are some helpful tips to get you started on your path toward effective communication.

Did You Know?

  • 70% of our communication is conveyed non-verbally vs. the spoken word.
  • We listen to people at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1,000-3,000 words per minute.
  • 55% of the meaning of our words is derived from facial expressions, 38% is in how the words are said, and only 7% is derived from the spoken words.

Tips for Appropriate Body Language

  • Make eye contact – lack of eye contact can signal deception, or disrespect
  • Stand up straight – slouching can exude a lack of confidence
  • Strengthen that handshake – a firm handshake indicates authority and confidence
  • Uncross your arms – arms crossed can be a sign of defensiveness, or being closed off
  • Face your co-workers – angling your body away from someone can show discomfort or disinterest

Sources: Greatist, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.