I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan and have been all my life. And although I don’t sit and watch a game very often, I always, thanks to my husband, keep up on their standings (which are pretty depressing, right now!). And it has occurred to me that communication is a lot like baseball. Allow me to explain . . .

Let’s say that the communicator is like the pitcher. He has a lot of control over how the ball or message is received by the listener or batter. If the pitcher puts just a little spin on the ball, coupled with high velocity speed, the batter might end up striking out!

In the same way, when we send a message, we need to be extremely aware of how we are “pitching it” to our listener or we may end up striking out in our conversations!

Now, imagine someone telling you, “You look great!” Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy all over? But what if you knew that the message was sent with a sarcastic and angry tone? Would that change the way you received the message? Sure it would! Non-verbal communication puts a powerful spin on the words we say.

Communication studies have shown that words alone account for only 7% of the message we convey. The majority of our message (93%) is through non-verbal cues, (55% is based on body language, and 38% is on our tone of voice).

Generally speaking, if you find that you or someone you know often sends negative non-verbal cues, you might want to consider looking at whether anger is the underlying issue. If you are the angry one, then consider reading the series of posts I did called, “What Forgiveness Is and Isn’t” (Parts 1 – 4) and really give yourself to the forgiveness process.

If the anger is coming from the other person, then try to avoid negative non-verbals whenever you talk with this person. Very often when you positively model the right non-verbals, you can influence the conversation for the better.

Now, normally I would want to offer positive tips on non-verbal communication, but I think that identifying the negative non-verbal cues is more revealing and relevant.

So here’s what to avoid:

  • Crossed arms or legs
  • Clenched hands
  • Sudden hand, head or arm movements
  • Poor eye contact
  • Eye contact that is too intense or threatening
  • Rolling your eyes
  • Laughing at inappropriate times
  • Stepping or leaning away
  • Leaning in too close
  • Frowning or smirking
  • Loud, angry or sarcastic tone

Next time you find yourself feeling misunderstood, frustrated, or in an unintentional argument, check to see if you may be pitching your message with a negative spin! Oh, and as far as my beloved Cardinals are concerned–watch out for us next year!

What Forgiveness Is and Isn’t – Truth #1

What Forgiveness Is and Isn’t – Truth #2

What Forgiveness Is and Isn’t – Truth #3

What forgiveness Is and Isn’t – Truth #4

Today’s post is linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chattingatthesky blog

tuesdays unwrapped at cats



Comments on: "How Are You Pitching Your Message?" (4)

  1. Great post! To go along with it is tone in writing – emails, letters, etc. I have to go back to my emails several times sometimes to make sure no one reads too much into it and thinks I am mad, irritated, etc.

  2. Hi Sherry,

    That is so true! I thought about adding something about how written messages have even greater danger of being misunderstood, because I’ve worried about that when I email/FB too! But I didn’t want to make my post too long. So I appreciate you bringing it up for others to consider. Thanks!

  3. such good advice — as a teacher (and a wife), i know too well the pitfalls of poor communication — verbal and nonverbal.

  4. Thanks, KeLi! I appreciate you stopping by, weighing in and encouraging me!

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