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Why Emotion Matters in Messaging

Why emotion matters in messagingEvery medium has its pros and cons when it comes to conveying a message. One of the most used communication methods today, e-mail, has almost replaced face-to-face communication – even for people in the same office.

E-mail certainly has a place in business communications, but it sure isn’t perfect, especially when it comes to understanding a person’s tone of voice, which is critical in forging personal connections. Ever get an e-mail from your manager or an employee and wonder what emotion the sender was feeling? How often do multiple messages get exchanged until understanding is achieved? It happens all the time!

A phenomenon that has exploded with the growth of social media and texting is the emoji, a small, digital icon used to display an idea or emotion. Emojis typically are derived from a smiley face, for good reason. Human beings recognize emotions in facial expressions. Before emojis became popular, there were emoticons, which use punctuation marks rather than icons, but the idea is the same: they provide a way to signal emotions. ; ) For a lot of people sending texts and e-mail, the icons are added on a reflexive impulse, to emphasize the intended emotion of the message. That’s a pretty good sign that the words alone aren’t enough.

Why aren’t words enough? Because the tone of your words matters. When you communicate with somebody who has difficulty understanding your tone of voice, the message itself tends to get lost or misinterpreted. To reach and engage an audience, whether it’s one person or 10,000, messages need to be clear and create an emotional connection.

Tim Sanders, former chief solutions officer and leadership coach at Yahoo and now a strategy consultant, offers great advice on what to do when e-mail falls short of delivering the intended message: pick up the phone and talk to whomever you’re trying to reach. What a novel idea! Let your audience hear your voice and clear up any misconceptions. But one thing you can’t convey on a phone call is body language. So there is still room for miscommunication, even when people are listening to what you’re saying.

What method of communication is personal and conveys emotion directly and unambiguously? It’s face to face. This can be delivered in person, but it is equally effective when communicating via video. When you can see and hear the person speaking, and observe his or her facial expressions and body language, you have a very clear idea of that person’s intended message.

For enterprises with large, distributed audiences – they can be employees, customers, business partners or others – the most cost-effective way to communicate clearly, the first time and every time, is through live or on-demand video.

I’ve written before about the power of authenticity in communication, and it’s been proven time and again with clients of my company, INXPO, that live video is the most authentic form of mass communication, next to being there in person.

To learn more about the power of live events powered by video, visit

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