The most common ways of communicating with others, such as using signs and gestures or words, are used more often than they used to, according to research by the communications planning organisation Communication Planning Network.

And yet, while the two approaches may be the same, there are differences between them, with some experts saying it is better to communicate in one method and the other in another.

They include: Using signs and words is considered more likely to result in a positive response.

The researchers analysed data from a large survey of 6,000 adults who completed an online survey on how they communicate with people around the world. 

Signs and gestures were used more than once on average.

In one of the surveys, they used sign language to describe a message from a stranger, such a “I love you” or “I like you”. 

In another, they said “I feel like we are close”.

In all, the researchers said signs and gesture were used about 70% of the time. 

When using words, they were more likely than signs and language to make positive comments. 

“A person who uses a sign or gesture will generally get a positive reaction, and that is likely to be the case with the other way of talking, which can sometimes be perceived as ‘unfriendly’,” said Dr Anna Molloy, of Communication Planning, at the University of Reading.

“The word ‘friend’ has a much higher likelihood of a positive outcome.” 

Using sign language and verbal communication is more likely when you are more confident and when you know what you are talking about.

The research, which looked at the way people talked about each other, was based on responses from 1,000 participants. 

For example, participants in the surveys were asked to describe their feelings and emotions about a situation in which they were present, such an event as an accident or a physical assault.

In this situation, they might say they felt “embarrassed” or they were “disgusted” because they were not at home. 

People were asked whether they felt the situation was “fairly” or not fair, and they were also asked to rate their overall impression of their own behaviour, in terms of their overall attitude. 

The researchers found that people were more confident when they said that they were feeling embarrassed, while feeling angry, or feeling disgusted, when speaking to a stranger. 

They found that when people were speaking in sign language, their overall mood was more positive than when they were using words. 

Similarly, when using verbal communication, people were happier when they made comments that were more positive. 

Dr Mollay said she hoped that the research would help to inform conversations about how to communicate more effectively, with a focus on communication planning and communication.

“We need to work out how to get from the way we talk to the way that we communicate to improve our lives and how we communicate,” she said. 

More: “I like to say I like to eat my food with a fork, but I’m a huge carnivore,” a friend said a couple of years ago, and now she’s a vegetarian.

“The more people you get to know, the more they’re likely to think about it,” someone said “They might have a problem with you but they also have a lot of respect for you,” and so on .

The findings suggest that people should “get to know” their friends better, rather than just using sign language or verbal communication to say “I do” or simply say “good evening”. 

The research also shows that when it comes to talking to a friend, people tend to use the more negative or negative-sounding words and are less likely to use positive ones. 

But Dr Mollo added that communication planning is not a panacea and that it is up to people to decide which way they want to communicate.

“It’s up to them to decide what they are comfortable with, how they want their conversations to go, and what they want others to do with it,” she explained.

“But if you want to get to a place where you are both confident in your own words and able to communicate, you might want to talk about your own situation.” 

Read more about communication planning: Communication planning for the workplace: What is it? 

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