This complexity can cause confusion—even with simple face-to-face communication. Communicating on behalf of a company is even harder.
Professor Albert Mehrabian‘s studies in the 1960s sought to demonstrate the crucial importance of nonverbal communication. He argued that communication between two people consists of the context of words (7 percent), the tone of voice (38 percent) and body language (55 percent). Although many professionals dispute those numbers, the crucial importance of nonverbal communication is undeniable.
The question for communicators is this: How do you overcome communication barriers (including lack of nonverbal cues) when dealing with diverse, often dispersed, audiences?
Context of words
Communication between two people requires a measure of empathetic compromise. Often, a language adjustment is required so that the message is perceived and understood to the fullest. Just as a professor would deliver concepts differently to a group of freshmen from his rendering of ideas to grizzled grad students, communicators must convey information (verbally and nonverbally) according to the specific audience. Without this effort to meet in the middle, messages get mixed, muddled or misinterpreted.