The Mechanics of Communication
In order to formulate powerful communication statements and get your message across with influence, you firstly need to step back and analyze the mechanics of communication.
So what are the mechanics of communication?
The mechanics of communication are often used in communication training to explain how communication works at the technical level. This concept also is very helpful in increasing awareness of how you communicate and probably not something you would normally think through.
Communication can be broken-down into three core areas.
- The Communication Components
- The Communication Message
- The Communication Process
Lets explore each one of these areas.
1. The Communication Components
The components of communication separate into 3 points.
They are words, tone and non-verbal, or normally referred to as body language. These all take up a certain percentage of the message meaning.
According to some experts words equate to approx 7% of the message, tone 35% and Non-verbal 58%. I think this may differ depending on the context of the communication, but the interesting point here is how little words contribute in the overall percentage amount. How much time do you spend trying to get your words right, when the other two components far out weigh in their contribution to the meaning of the message.
Next time you are in an important face to face conversation with someone, become more aware of how you sound and what your body language is contributing to the meaning of the message.
2. The Communication Message
Leading on from the components we can now look at the next area, the communication message. When you are conducting face to face dialogue the message can be separated into 2 independent parallel messages that are being sent.
The information message and the emotional response message.
The information message comprises of the words and facts, whilst the emotional response message comprises of the emotions you are conveying in the message. This explains why sometimes a communication message can lead to misunderstanding and in-congruence. How often have you spoken to someone who is using all the right words but you receive a different emotional response message. For example you may have experienced this common thought “What they’re saying sounds fine but I don’t know what it is.. I just don’t trust them.” Another example may be when someone is telling you what they perceive you want to hear, but at the emotional level you just don’t feel comfortable with the emotional responses you are receiving. Something doesn’t fit.
Most people have not been taught how to communicate about some of the underlying feelings they are experiencing. This would explain why people focus more on the information portion of the message because it seems easier. Part of this is probably cultural conditioning, the other part is most people have never learned how.
Next time you are in a conversation become more aware of what feelings you are experiencing during the communication. If you start to feel uncomfortable or not sure, just slow the communication down and ask more questions to help clarify what is really being said. Don’t just rely on their information message for the meaning.
3. The Communication Process.
The third core area of communication relates to the systematic way communication works.
Simply explained there are 3 steps.
1. Producing and sending the message
2. Receiving and interpreting the message
3. The giving and receiving of feedback.
Most people do this by second nature so the suggestion is to become more strategic and aware of using the 3rd point of feedback. Use more questioning techniques to help drill down to gain the correct meaning for example.
In order to tie all three points into something practical here this is what I suggest.
Next time you are having face to face communication with someone, focus on becoming more reflective in your style by asking more questions or paraphrasing to gain clarity. Doing more of this helps to slow down the communication to give you more time to identify some of the drivers that may be forming in-congruent emotional response messages, as well as checking the non-verbal expressions that they are sending.
Analyzing the Mechanics of Communication may seem like a lot more effort and work when you are talking to someone but if you stick at it you will be amazed at how easy it becomes to go deeper with people. Which is sometimes necessary to enter in to more honest and open communication.
I hope you enjoyed this article on communication skills training and good luck with improving your communication.