Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City


During my research for these past 2 issues, I was surprised to learn that only 7% of our communication with others is delivered through the text alone. The rest is transmitted via paraverbals. They enhance and expand upon the meaning of the text by means of the senses, what we see and hear apart from  the spoken word.

Approximaltey 90% of our communication is outside our conscious awareness: 55% of this is gestural such as posture, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, even spacing and 45% is verbal, with 38% of that number representing non-textural elements such as pitch variation, vocal tone, volume and timing.

Because our nervous system’s capacity for attentional, focused cognitive processing is limited to 1 activity at a time, our ability to glean a complete understanding or interpretation of a communication, is hampered. When we engage in listening, subconscious impressions are being processed by our high speed brain system that handles emotions.  It’s larger functional capacity enables it to “read” all the paraverbals. In addition, this part of the brain has been significantly developed since birth, working for us even before we learned how to talk.

We all use habitual patterns in our speech and body language that are picked up and read by others for emotional and interrelational clues. Sometimes these signals dominate our understanding of what is being said. In other words, the medium is the message.

We are often unaware that our sense of compatibility with someone on first meeting  may be greatly influenced by these communication patterns. We feel a rapport with those who use those similar to our own, a “like me-ness”, even mirroring their non-verbals in our listening and responding. Mismatching happens when these patterns are not recognizable or unfamiliar resulting in “not hitting it off” with someone

So stay in tune with all your senses and keep them in good working order so you get the whole story!


Your Voice is Your Business. O. Barone, M.A. & C. Tellis, PhD. Plural Publishing, 2009.                                         Bodymind & Voice: Foundations of Voice Education. L. Thurman, EdD & G. Welch, Phd., co-eds. Revised Ed. The VoiceCare Network. 2000.

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