Albert Mehrabian researched communication and found that when people were expressing feelings or ‘liking’, non-verbal information and tone of voice could provide more information than the actual words used. He attributed the contribution of the verbal element to just 7% in this narrow area of communicative expression. These findings were based on research involving participants listening to recordings of a single word whilst they were shown pictures demonstrating a range of facial expressions.
Frequently communications specialists have misinterpreted these findings to apply to all communication, that is that words contribute 7%, tone of voice 38%, and body language 55% in all of our interpersonal communication. This myth is neatly busted by the people at CreativityWorks in a cute little animation. Watch it to find out the correct basis of Mehrabian’s research and let yourself be reassured that words do matter: great for those of us who do more than gesture and hum!