Communication Myth: 7 percent of communication is the words

Albert Mehrabian - the truth
Have you heard this one, “7% of communication is words, 38% is tone and 55% is visual”?

It is not true – yet so many self-declared communication experts repeat it.

Those stats have been twisted from their original meaning.

The stats are from a study conducted by Albert Mehrabian in the 1960’s. He published his findings in the book “Silent Messages”. He studied the case of one person communicating to another looking for what affected the believability of the message.

Mehrabian concluded that believability is connected to likeability. Below you can read the excerpt from Albert Mehrabian’s website on this matter:

http://www.kaaj.com/psych/

"Inconsistent communications -- the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages. My findings on this topic have received considerable attention in the literature and in the popular media. "Silent Messages" contains a detailed discussion of my findings on inconsistent messages of feelings and attitudes (and the relative importance of words vs. nonverbal cues) on pages 75 to 80.

Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking"
-Albert Mehrabian

George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives
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