I was recently reminded of the “7%-38%-55% Rule” by Albert Mehrabian. It explains that for any conversation, only 7% of the comprehension comes from the actual words. The rest comes from the tone of voice and body language.

I am writing throughout the day. Between emails and texts, a huge portion of my communication is done through a written medium. In writing, only the words deliver the message, which makes it far more difficult to have the same impact.

On reflection, I would like my written communication to be as effective as possible, and adding more emotion is an area I can easily improve. It will never match a real conversation, but I bet I can see meaningful results with a conscious effort. Without any tone or expression, my written communication is boring and loses context.

Punctuation is a great starting point. If the written words convey 7%, punctuation is technically the remaining 93%.

The exclamation point is so easy to use, but it feels unnatural. I used to think that I needed to reserve its use - to only include them when it was absolutely necessary. Something that needed shouting! In reality, I never use them at all and stick to the basic period, hyphen, and comma.

Starting today, I’m going to change that! I am going to make an effort to add more emotion to my written communication - and use all punctuation as it should be used.