It may sound like I’m a Quaterback calling numbers but it’s actually an important rule when it comes to the communication of emotions.
When you’re having a conversation with someone, what are you paying attention to?
Their words? Tone of voice? Body language? Facial expressions?
Psychology Professor Albert Mehrabian’s research into nonverbal communication developed the 7, 38, 55 rule in relation to the communication of emotions.
It states that only 7% of meaning is communicated through words.
This means if you’re only hearing the words someone is saying, you’re basically missing out on 93% of the message.
What makes up the other 93%?
38% is tone of voice and 55% is body language.
The rule relates to emotions in communication, that when communicating something emotional, we may conceal what we’re feeling using our words (think, “I’m fine”, “all good”…), yet reveal them through our tone of voice or body language (e.g. going high pitched, crossing our arms, turning our body, looking down, avoiding eye contact…)
What does this mean for you?
The research states that when what someone is saying isn’t matched by their tone of voice and body language, we’re more likely to believe the non-verbals over the words.
This is handy when trying to read someone, but don’t forget, this applies to you to.
So, while yes, you should be aware of it when you’re listening to someone, you also need to remember that your voice and body are giving off information too.
If you want to have presence and be an effective communicator, you need to make sure your words, tone of voice and body language are all giving off the same message.
If not, it erodes trust, persuasion and credibility.
Are you aware of what message your tone and body are sending?