The Origami of Communication

As a coach and a speaker, I communicate with different types of people everyday. And I admit that there are times when my NLP ‘Zen” have been challenged multiple times – during meetings, on the road, the office and even in my own home.

There is a big difference between teaching NLP and actually living an NLP life everyday. But, I personally believe that practice makes perfect.  Both my daughters grew up in a home wherein NLP is not just taught – we live by it every single day. It is not just a habit – it’s a continuous lifestyle.

With the turbo speed growth of technology, the modes of communication have continuously been escalating. Gone were the days wherein we need to wait a month for our mails to arrive, or for a week for our pictures to get developed. Nowadays, everything has to be right-this-instant. Like a ticking bomb, we need to get a respond now, or share our pictures ATM (at the moment). With the help of technology, everything could be uploaded in a span of 5 seconds (or depending on the speed of your internet).

Although everything happens in lighting speed, we, as a Filipino are still being visited by this ghost called ‘mañana habit’. Why do we love to procrastinate? Why is it that we seem to have all the time in the world? Is it really just a force of ‘bad’ habit? Or is it because we are just forgiving and accepting of this culture?

In Japan, the Japanese were taught that procrastination is not the right way to live. Every person is taught to do KAIZEN. Kaizen is known as the one-minute-rule. This is a technique made for ‘lazy’ people or people who can’t stick to a certain thing. The philosophy behind this is to make an individual practice discipline by habit.  For a person who hates reading or doing tasks which they think are a hindrance to their everyday lives, the kaizen method will help you climb your way up to success. In just one minute a day, you will train yourself by practicing everyday (whatever task it is that you have to learn) at the same exact time until you get used to it.  The Japanese believe that even the laziest person can carry out a task for one minute a day.

Russians, on the other hand, have a unique way of getting things done on time.  Like Filipinos, they do procrastinate – but – they still end up doing things on time by being Majime (Japanese word for getting things done without any drama).  Russians are fun-loving people who value their time of leisure. But when it comes to deadlines- they are dead serious. Clearly, even with different cultures and different dialects, everyone communicates the same way -through listening and understanding.

The meaning of your communication is the response you get. If you want to get things done quick, it is up to you on how to Communicate it to another person. How did you relay the message? Can the sense of urgency be heard under the tone of your voice? Have you gone into their maps so that they could understand you better? Inasmuch as there are infinite ways to communicate, there are always different ways that the receiver understands it.  Many a time people get into arguments simply because of miscommunication. More than having different views, arguments or misunderstandings are born due to poor communication.

 This can be seen as:

  1. The speaker was not clear in communicating what needs to be done.
  2. The receiver was not listening well.


When we communicate, we must first accept. By accepting, we are aware that we are the one being spoken to. And at the same time, we must also accept and understand that something is needed from us.   As receivers, we must focus on the person talking to us and make sure that we understand what the other person is trying to convey. If needed, don’t be afraid to take notes.

As the person speaking, we have to make sure that what we are saying is clear. We should be aware to our own tone, the rhythm of our voice, and our choice of words. Not everyone has the same wavelength. Not everyone has equal understanding. We should also consider who the person whom we are talking to is and adjust our frequency to their wavelength.

When we use the right words, we get the right response. If we use the wrong words, wrong actions will be produced; and this costs a lot. Miscommunication leads to the loss of your time, money, and effort.


Words: 7 percent

Tonality: 38 percent

Body Language: 55 percent

Even before we open our mouths to speak, we have already said too much. From the way we look, move, and up to the part when we say hi – we have already been rated. The phrase       ‘action speaks louder than words’ is en pointe.

In a span of 5 seconds, the receiver already knows if he or she will be interested in the things you have to say or not. This now leaves you with how you will say your request by the tone of your voice. And since only 7 percent remains on how you will send your message across, it’s up to you to make sure that you choose your words wisely.

Professor Albert Mehrabian, who developed theories on non-verbal communication, coined the 7-38-55% communication rule. His study focused on understanding attitudes and emotions expressed by non-verbal means. As a result of this study, he claims that facial expressions gives out a clearer communication than verbal forms. First, they experimented with tones of voices followed by pictures. After experimenting with 30 undergraduates from UCLA by audio recording (spoken words) and pictures (facial expressions), he then came up with the 7-38-55% rule with the formula: total liking = 7% verbal liking + 38% vocal liking + 55% facial liking. Mehrabian believes that the person receiving communication trusts the element which most accurately reflects the communicator’s true feelings towards them.


Even before you’ve even opened your mouth to speak, you’ve already made a connection.  In this ‘selfie’ and ‘food porn’ generation, a picture can certainly paint a thousand words. But, do silent pictures convey a person’s feeling? – Absolutely!  People nowadays are getting their messages across more with pictures and videos rather than with words.

When we want to connect with others, we want to try to sway that person to our side. Our aim is to get the other person to understand what we want to convey to them. Often, when the listener resists, we think that they don’t agree with us. But in reality, the listener resists simply because they don’t understand what we are trying to say.

Resistance could indicate lack of rapport or a hindrance in the way you are communicating with them. What you think you are saying may be as clear as day to you, but is a disarray of jargon for them.

Every sign or signal you send out is a form of communication. Even the lack of response is information given to the speaker. Each person, no matter how good you are in communicating is capable of deleting, distorting or generalizing. It is what our brain is trained to do. Remember, our brain receives 4 billion bits of information and chunks it to 7 bits of information that retains in our minds.

Enveloped with sense of empathy, a clear transfer of communication is not impossible. The mañana habit will be gone, the wall of resistance to do things due to lack of understanding will be crumbled.

Remember, verbal communication is not the only way to express ourselves; how we move, act and not say things are just as effective – perhaps,  even more so.

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