What My Daughter Teaches Me About Communication

My daughter’s eyes sparkle and her smile lights up a room. When we go out, she’s always making new friends. Strangers smile and say, “Hello.” They interact with her. At school, she’s extremely popular. I see she’s remarkably engaging and intelligent. You can just tell.

My daughter is also three and has Cerebral Palsy. She can’t yet sit, stand, or walk. She can’t keep her head steadily upright, but she can shake a mean “no.” “Yes” shows as a big smile and “eager” body language. When she wants something, she looks for it so you know what she wants. Ask her what she wants to eat, she’ll find a way to tell you. And you’d better ask: she can be as stubborn as any three-year-old if you don’t.

Tomorrow I facilitate the first of two public speaking classes. I emphasize how important it is to use all forms of communication in face-to-face encounters, including tone of voice and body language. It’s important to control your presence to project the appropriate body language, and it’s equally important to continuously “read” body language cues from your audience.

Many people are surprised to learn that body language represents well over 50% of communication in face-to-face meetings. I wouldn’t challenge that assertion. Just ask my daughter.

Thanks for reading! @tomspiglanin


For more discussion about body language, see @diannabooher‘s article, “Body Language: How Loud Does Your Walk Talk?” and references therein.

I limit myself to four paragraphs, but for those who want to read more about my daughter, her story has been written here.

This entry was posted in 4-Paragraph Blog Posts, Communication, Formal Learning. Bookmark the permalink.
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3 Responses to What My Daughter Teaches Me About Communication

  1. Meg says:

    Tom, that is SOOOO true, you can communicate so well even without words, that I agree it must be a lot more than 50%. Kiss that gorgeous girl for me! :)

  2. :-) The Wikipedia entry for Body Language suggests as high as 93%, but 60-70% referenced there seems right.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Tom. I bet your daughter does have an A+ personality and is popular everywhere she goes; I can tell from the facial exuberance. My 3-year-old niece, a Downs Syndrome child, has difficulty with her walk (as I discussed in the article you referred to). But even with that uneven walk, she communicates a contagious love of life that makes her a joy and the life of any party.

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