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Beyond Words - Effective Communication
Although English has been called the international business language, the words alone carry less than 10% of the meaning in a live, in-person conversation. Perfect English is not required for perfect understanding. Percy Barnevik, former CEO of the American construction company ABB, once joked that the common language at ABB was “bad English”. Tone of voice, facial expression, gestures and body language, as well as context, contributes the vast majority of meaning in face-to-face discussions. Yet many people insist on conducting most of their business communication via email, even when the person receiving the email is sitting only a short walk away. Over-reliance on email creates misunderstandings that could be easily resolved with a single direct conversation and the full richness of non-verbal communication. In addition, open and honest communication that builds trust must be based on a heart-connection, not just a meeting of the minds, and a true commitment to a mutually beneficial relationship. This kind of rapport can be built most easily through face-to-face interaction. But even email and phone calls can be far more effective when the message acknowledges a human connection. This module explores how to expand business communication beyond words to non-verbal expression, positive intention and commitment to mutual benefit.