In using our communication skills and abilities how we say something is just as important as what we say. Body language plays an extremely important part of our communication. In fact studies have been done showing that when we interact in a communication process the receiver actually receives 7% of the message verbally. The other 93% is received based on the non-verbal aspects of the message.

How we dress, our gestures, facial expressions, posture and body movements are also being received when we verbally communicate with someone. That is why it is very important that our actions and non-verbal signals match what we are saying. When our words do not match our non-verbal signals we confuse the person we are trying to communicate with. When the listener gets their signals crossed this is when misunderstanding occurs.

The idea of dress for success came into being based on the idea of how people read a person's physical representation. Like verbal symbols and signs, non verbal symbols like your clothing choices send a message of who you are. For example in the traditional business world it is assumed that how conservative one dresses determines how business orientated one is. I don't happen to agree with this but in the traditional work settings this is a fact. You can go to a job interview with the best resume, but if you are dressed inappropriately you will not get the position. On the other hand you can have a half decent resume and dress to the nines and get the position. This is all based on the physical signal that says yes I dressed the part so you know I want the job.

The same goes for how we say something. If we give a presentation on physical fitness with chips and soda in hand and slouching who is going to believe that we are fitness gurus. Our non-verbal signals don't match what is coming out of our mouths.

When one says what they mean, and mean what they say, they are effective communicators. The message they send is clear to the receiver. The information is sent in such a way that the receiver cannot mix up the signals. The body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and clothing all match what is being said. However, we have to be careful that when we communicate with others, that a persons physical elements don't become more important than what they are saying. People should not have to look a certain way to say certain things. We may run the risk of stereotyping if we limit our communication interpretation in that way.

We don't all wear or even like the same shoes much less speak in the same style. This does not make us necessarily any less effective communicators. It may mean the contrary, that the person who dresses differently is more innovative and creative. He views the world according to signs and symbols that are valid to him. This does not have to be bad thing; in fact it can make the world a more interesting place to live in. As long as you understand what he is saying and he understands your response that is what counts in the long run. That is the basis of effective communication. The sender and receiver both understand the message that was transmitted.

About the Author:

If you need any information on any type of communication skills then Regina's site is the one you need to go to. She has been in the performing arts for over 25 years and learned all the ins and outs of effective communication skills. This site gives practical advice on all your communication needs. Go to

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