words have power

It’s NOT what you say, It’s the WAY you say it! 

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.   

Posted in Body Language, Choices, Coaching, communication and tagged , , , , , , .

Anne McKeown