Get past the Mehrabian myth

If you have studied communication much at all, I’ll bet you’ve been exposed to a common set of figures: only 7 percent of the meaning that comes from an interaction comes from the words exchanged. 38 percent comes from the voice, and 55 percent from the body language. You should have a source for information like that, of course, and there has always been a good one: Dr. Albert Mehrabian.

I even cited those figures in a textbook I co-authored, since the figures appeared in the textbook I used as a student way back when Aristotle was in knee pants. They’re great figures that help speakers make a point about delivery.

Except they’re wrong.

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