September 6, 2012

Communication is NOT 93% nonverbal

I totally get what he's saying
Almost daily I hear the communication research of Albert Mehrabian misquoted or misrepresented:

"Remember, nonverbal communication makes up 93% of all communication!"

Or in other words:

* 7% of communication comes from our words
* 38% of communication comes from our tone of voice
* 55% of communication comes from our body language

I've been writing about this since 2007, along with several of my colleagues (linked at the bottom of Olivia Mitchell's post), and I'm not sure I'm making a dent.

I'm most disappointed when I hear other speaking and communications professionals repeat this statistic. Because it's just not true, and they should know that by now.

When I find new resources to share in my fight against uninformed sharing of statistics, I bring them to you, so here's the latest one I've found: an interview with Albert Mehrabian himself.

I'm unable to find a link that can be embedded, so please click the link and go listen to what Mehrabian has to say about his research (it starts at about 23:15). Here's a snippet:

"Whenever I hear that misquote or misrepresentation of my findings I cringe, because it should be so obvious to anybody who would use any amount of common sense that that's not a correct statement."


"You cannot extrapolate my findings to communication in general."

It's a brief interview, and well worth the listen!

And if you haven't seen the animated video debunking the misinterpreted numbers, it's dead-on, and just 3:30 long. Take a look:

On The Everything Page you'll find everything you need to build visibility, credibility and influence through engaging presentations that move your participants into action: freebies, low-cost products and courses, and 1:1 coaching!

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