Experts tell us that communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal; of the non-verbal, 55% is body language and 38% is tone. In today’s world, there is a new category that contributes to communication… that is ‘Electronic Communication’.
When it comes to ‘EC’, let your conscience be your guide. ‘EC’ includes speaking over the telephone, through a loud speaker, into an intercom, and more. It can even mean the new version of electronic communication; text, e-mail, Instagram, and various social media platforms.
In order to be understood, there is one fundamental rule that applies to speaking on an electronic device; SLOW DOWN. When you slow down, you automatically enunciate each word so your message doesn’t run together. You also pause at appropriate places to make sure the listener can follow along and understand.
A trip through a fast food drive-thru or a call to many medical practices reinforces the notion that slowing the rate of speech is a skill lost on today’s younger workforce. Those with high pitched voices are particularly difficult to understand, especially when speaking over an electronic device. However, slowing the rate of speech automatically lowers the pitch of the voice. With practice, it can be lowered even more, which makes it more understandable.
The law of unintended consequences also applies to today’s new methods of ‘EC’. The autonomy of writing an e-mail makes people brave and they often say things in e-mails that they would never say face-to-face. Additionally, the permanent nature of e-mail or posting on social media is overlooked. It is always helpful to think before pressing send on any electronic communication. With today’s technology, anything written on a computer has the potential to last forever.
And then there’s text messaging. This technology presents problems that were completely unknown only a few years ago. Misperceptions associated with texting are largely overlooked and may be offensive. With the spoken word, it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. With texting, a message gets conveyed only one way.
The problem is easy to recognize if we look at a simple sentence. “I didn’t tell her you were stupid.” A simple sentence like this could have at least eight meanings. If you disagree, say the sentence with no particular emphasis on any word. It means what it says. Then say the sentence with an emphasis on the first word. “I didn’t tell her you were stupid.” Now it means that someone else did. “I didn’t tell her you were stupid”. That means that I will be telling her soon. “I didn’t tell her you were stupid.” I implied it. And so it goes. The problem arises when the sender of a text means one thing but the receiver thinks it means something else.
Passion for Patients™ provides comprehensive, interactive, and effective training sessions to help medical professionals deal with all types of electronic communication, including this new frontier of text messaging, e-mail, and social media. Call us for details, and remember to speak a little slower over the telephone.