Friday, June 13, 2014

Body Language in Written Communication

Body Language as a term is the body's outwardly manifestations (like the folding of hands) that communicate your innermost feelings. For example, when you fold your hands, it shows you are 'closed' to the other person; when you are rubbing your hands, it shows you are 'nervous'; when you avoid looking at the other person in the eyes, it shows you are hiding something/scared/insecure.

Body Language in written communication is very difficult to show/see. The most popular ways of expressing is through 'smileys' - and we have hundreds of them doing the rounds. However, smileys are ok to use in informal communication or in an informal relationship or situation.

But how does one communicate one's expression in formal communication? Here is when i discovered not just the power of words, but the tone of voice - all over again. Or what i term as 'Body Language in Written Communication'.
There was this holier-than-thou senior person who was posting free advice on my team's wall in public - in all probability, his intentions were not to spite or belittle us; however, to the world at large, it would appear so.
I had two choices - i could answer him politely in public on the wall, or reply to him in private, that too politely. Just by choosing the latter i made it clear that i did not fancy him posting advice on my wall - that too unsolicited.
Second, the kind of tone i used, polite and friendly, thanking him, yet 'please-do-not-underestimate-us' tone, had its effect and we were successful in ensuring that he stopped by congratulating us for our efforts and results.
A single stray comment on a public platform can many a time do irreparable damage; and though it is true that you cannot control what someone else says, you can most definitely whip out your word arsenal, sharpen it with the right tone of voice and shoot it out.
Body Language is something that we have all heard of and are careful about, now put it use in written communication - especially emails and letters and comments and replies - and see how it works.
Worth a try!
Images courtesy

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