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Your Paralinguistics is Showing

How much of your message is non-verbal?   A great deal!   In fact people respond more to your body language than your words.   In addition to body language, we communicate through paralinguistics.   This is the part of our spoken words that are not the words themselves.

Four ways in which we communicate paralinguistically:

  • Loudness
  • Pitch
  • Inflection
  • Tone

We can use the same words but a different inflection can make our words sarcastic instead of complimentary.  Saying words either in a loud voice or soft voice can change the sense of urgency.  What about your tone?   Again, it can be condescending or uplifting depending on the tone you choose.

Paralinguistic properties can even be observed in the written language.   Have you ever received an email from someone who wrote in ALL CAPS and felt as if they were yelling at you?   What about a smiley face at the end of a sentence?   That can be a signal from the writer that he is attempting to truly make you smile or perhaps to soften an otherwise harsh message.  Punctuation, such as exclamation marks, can also indicate enthusiasm or urgency, depending on the writer’s intent.

Written communication is much easier to misinterpret due to lack of voice inflection, tone, etc. and should be trained to practiced in order to prevent extreme miscommunication.  Communicating effectively is a Success Habit!

Text messages?   Now that is a topic all it’s own!  : )  lol  ?RU

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Judy W Bell

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