Posted by: Kristin | March 1, 2009

The Art of Communication

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is said and what is unsaid when two people communicate. I would guess that in all conversations, that only about 10% of what we communicate is the words that we use and about 90% of what we communicate is unspoken. This is a great reminder for me, not only in moments or misunderstandings with a loved one but even more interesting in a different cultural context.

Having just returned from the Middle East and specifically Jordan, my experience was that there was even a greater importance paid to unspoken communication than here in the States. I found it served me more to pay extra attention to my intuition and what I FELT was being communicated below the surface of our words.

Since returning to Seattle, I’ve intentionally paid even more attention to that “superpower” (which I’ve named my intuition) in my interactions with others. It’s actually helped me to be less “reactive” and had me focusing more on what is REALLY being said under the words. This is a useful skill, I’m discovering, both here and in the world at large.

So I’d encourage us all to experiment the next time we’re in a heated conversation that triggers a reaction, to pause (which I know is easier said than done), and try instead to address head on what’s REALLY being said by the other. Who knows,…this might even have bigger implications on our understanding of current global conflicts.



  1. Reading this entry just gave me CHILLS. I love hearing your thoughts on this stuff.

  2. 90% unspoken? c’mon now, don’t give verbal communication such short shrift. i think we should encourage conversation to take us at least 40% of the way there.

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