Mindstate Motivation Blog

The Complete Picture

Interpersonal communications is complex to say the least.  There are a lot of reasons for that complexity and some of them are best identified through a study done several years ago by Professor Albert Mehrabein, Ph.D.  The study was focused on the three ways we communicate and the impact of those ways on the total message.

The model he developed from that research has become a classic and foundational to many discussions on the art of effective communications.  The essence of his model is:

    • 7% of any message is impacted by the words we use
    • 38% is impacted by the way we say the words (vocal pace, tone, etc.)
    • 55% of the message comes through in the visual aspects of our body language, facial expression, etc.

To put that another way, 93% of our interpersonal communications is impacted by the vocal and visual aspects of our message rather than the words we say.  I take that to mean that if we want to truly get the complete picture of every message we receive, it takes more than just hearing what’s being said.  It seems me that we must listen as much with our eyes as we do with our ears.

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