Albert Mehrabian – The Truth Behind The

Self-Improvement One of the most often quoted statistics in communication training is Albert Mehrabian’s experiment that concludes that whenever we communicate with another person only 7% of what we communicate comes through the words we use and the rest is made up of tone of voice and body language. This is quite a stunning conclusion, especially if we have learnt to believe that communication is only about words. How can it be that only 7% of my communication is the words I speak (the words that I so carefully craft and put together)? It has wonderful ‘shock’ value, like a recent newspaper headline that suggested more people in the world die of obesity than die of hunger! It certainly grabs your attention and makes you think! Mehrabian’s observations are a powerful paraphrase of what Emerson already pointed out; that often ‘what you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say’. Inevitably as pendulums swing, attention grabbing statistics like the Mehrabian observation become overused, taken out of context and slowly discredited. The most important fact to remember about the Mehrabian experiment was that it was not intended as a blanket statement about all communication, it was conducted using people who were making very strong and controversial statements. Clearly, if I am giving straight forward, uncontroversial instructions, how I stand, how I sound and how I express myself is not of great interest. Directions to the station, instructions on assembling a cupboard, times and venue for an event are all communications where most of the communication is contained purely in the words. However the moment a person’s sincerity, honesty or personal integrity come into the equation, then we become very sensitive to the non-verbal signals behind the words. If I had some personal interest in possibly sending you in the wrong direction to the station, you will be much more conscious of my eyes, my tone of voice and all the non-verbal messages that may give away my true attitude. This is why successful politicians need to be masters of non-verbal communication, because they know that we will always question the motive and intention behind everything they say. Equally, as in Mehrabian’s experiments, if a person is making a statement that is confrontational or controversial, we will quickly look beyond their words to how they look or how they sound, because we either cannot or do not want top take their words at face value. So we do not want to get too hung up on the literal percentages in Mehrabian’s results when we consider how people communicate on a day to day basis. We just need to understand that varying circumstances will affect the relationship between content, vocal and non-verbal messages. Put simply: What you do will affect how people what people hear, but a lot of the time we will not be down to that startling headline figure of 7%. Copyright (c) 2013 Vince Stevenson About the Author: The College of Public Speaking offers a BTEC level 4 accredited by Edexcel. This unique course is an inexpensive opportunity for indiviuals to get their foot on the training ladder. Workshops are run regularly in London and welcome enquiries from around the country and abroad. For more details, please follow the following link: Training the Trainer Courses London Article Published On: 相关的主题文章:

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