Apr 28, 2021

The 7-38-55 Percent Rule

In two famous studies, UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian quantified the importance of words, tone, and body language in what makes us like or dislike somebody. The numbers he came up with is that only 7 percent of the message relies on words, 38 percent comes from tone, and 55 percent from body language.

Although difficult to accurately quantify, these numbers give us a rough indication that your tone and body language when communicating are much more important than the substance of what you’re saying. 

How can we benefit from knowing this?

First, when discussing business with a potential client, face-to-face is best, over-the-phone is second best, and email is the worst way to communicate with them. Many people prefer the ease of email but you are going to get better results if you can get facetime.

Second, you should pay more attention to someone’s body language than their words. If someone says they want to work with you but their body language is indicating that they’re hesitant, that is a good sign they are not being forthcoming with how they truly feel. You should dig deeper to make sure you’re on the same page and that your counterpart feels respected.