For those of you who know me, you know that I love to talk, whether in person, via skype, delivering a presentation or training workshops. I love to talk. Like many, I feel frustrated when people don’t seem to get what I’m trying to say. I hate to admit it, but it’s not their fault – it’s mine!
For many years, I have been fascinated by the work of Professor Albert Mehrabian. His research provides the basis for the much-quoted statistic below. These findings highlight the effectiveness, (or lack) when using the spoken word to communicate feelings and attitudes:
- 7% of meaning is in the words that are spoken.
- 38% of meaning is the way that the words are said/attitude.
- 55% of meaning is in facial expression.
So, even though people may HEAR the words I’m saying. They are
more influenced by what they SEE me saying.
Here are a few ways we communicate without words:
- The way we look at someone (judgmental or ignoring them)
- Hand gestures (thumbs up, or rude finger)
- Our face changes colour (embarrassed or angry)
- We can’t look someone in the eye (shy or hiding the truth).
- Honk the horn on the steering wheel when irritated in heavy traffic.
- Scratch our heads when puzzled.
Here are a few ways we communicate using our tone to convey:
- High pitched (excited or anxious).
- Growling (annoyed or tired).
- Huffing (disappointed or displeased).
- Low and slow (calming a situation).
Remember to choose your words carefully because 93% of what you say is not being heard!
I know that these examples are generalisations and I am not a body language guru but I do find the topic very interesting and would love for you to share below any examples of tones or body language that you know have an impact.