A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success
CHRISISM #85 - What’s Your Understanding of “Communication”?
19 February 2019
Since we are all in the ‘people business’, being able to communicate effectively with prospects and clients is a pretty fundamental requirement when seeking to bring people on board as clients and build strong and meaningful relationships on an ongoing basis. Therefore understanding the relative importance of the three component parts of communication is a very necessary starting point.
The 7%/38%/55% Rule that I am about to share with you dates back to research carried out originally in 1971 by Albert Mehrabian, currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, and what it is designed to demonstrate is the relative importance of the three component parts of face to face communication.
So let’s start by identifying what these three component parts of face to face communication actually are:-
Firstly there is what is called “Content” i.e. what we actually say
Secondly there is what is called “Voice Tonality” i.e. how we say it
Thirdly there is physiology i.e. body language
Now if I was to go out on to the street one lunchtime in the CBD and conduct a random survey on a variety of people asking them what percentage of face to face communication was made up of the “content” component i.e. what we say to someone, I guarantee that the large majority of those people would answer in excess of 90% on the assumption that “I said this and he/she said this” ergo we ‘communicated’! So how right or wrong would they be in this assumption?
Well, the reality is that it is estimated that approximately 7% of face to face communication is down to ‘what we say’!! Then 38% is down to ‘how we say it’ i.e. how we are coming across to the other person and 55% is down to non verbal communication i.e. body language!
There are a number of important aspects of communication that we need to take on board as a result of this research, some of which are important to keep in mind when we are communicating with someone over the phone and some of which are important when we are communicating with someone face to face.
As far as communication over the phone is concerned, when of course we can’t actually see the person with whom we are communicating (assuming it’s not skype or a video conference call!), then the very important lesson we need to learn is that in this instance only the “content” and the “voice tonality” components are relevant, so what we need to be very aware of is the relative importance of these two component parts, and if we refer back to the percentage contributions made by each of these two component parts, then the message we need to take away is that typically, when communicating over the phone, it will be five or six times as important how we are coming across to someone i.e. voice tonality as opposed to what we are actually saying to someone – and I like to add here “within reason”! So please refer back to “Chrisism#74 – Smile Down The Phone” in this regard.
As far as face to face communication is concerned, then the important message to take away from the research is that non-verbal communication i.e. body language makes up the majority of face to face communication. Look out for a future “Chrisism” specifically on the topic of body language.
If this “Chrisism” has provided you with a ‘lightbulb moment’ or two and you would like to benefit from a bucketful of such ‘lightbulb moments’ over a full day’s input, then I suggest you check out my new upcoming “How To Gain Trust & Build Stronger Client Relationships” face to face workshops which are coming to your capital city late March/early April.
Just click on the link below for all the details and register now to get your Early Bird discount and I look forward to seeing you then.
The Risk Workshop by Chris Unwin
Are you a financial adviser who would like all of your clients to have appropriate types and levels of personal protection? But perhaps you feel you need a more structured and client friendly engagement process?