Is Body Language that important?

“Words account for only 7% of communication” 

Fact or Fiction?

Have you ever heard (or seen) some people mentioning that words only represent 7% of our communication? If so, you might also have heard them mention that tone of voice makes up 38% of our communication and that body language takes up the remaining 55%.

But is this fact or fiction?  Is body language and the tone of voice really that important in all our communications?

Body Langauage Training

Liz Banks - Skillstudio MD If you want some expert training to help you enhance your body langauage awareness then Skillstudio are there to help. We provide:-

Body Language Awareness Workshops
These 1-day public courses are held in Central London and we can also run them for your organisation on an in-house basis throughout the UK and Europe.

Communication Skills Workshops
Our 1-day communication skills workshops also include an element of body language awareness.  Both public courses and in-house workshops are available.

Call us today on 08456 444 150 if you want to discuss how our training can help you or your team.

Body Language accounts for 55% – Fact or Fiction?

Well, it’s really an over-simplification of the research that was conducted by a Dr Mehrabian back in the late 1960’s. Unfortunately this has been misquoted by trainers and other communications experts ever since then.

So what did Mehrabian’s research indicate?

The research did however demonstrate that when applied to discussions about intangibles eg a speakers feelings or beliefs about something, then both body language and tone of voice are often more important than the actual words used.

This is even more so when the three modes of communication (ie words; tone of voice; and body language) are incongruent with each other. In this case, his research experiment showed a 55% weighting on body language, 38% on tone of voice and 7% on words used. eg if someone doesnt look like they are “telling the truth” or doesnt appear to be convinced that what they are saying will work – then we put more weight on what we see (body language) and hear (tone of the voice) than on the actual words spoken.

But when talking about tangibles – eg statements of fact, financial data, research findings etc, the words used and the style of language are of course extremely important. But even in these scenarios the ability to influence and persuade your audience through a convincing voice and confident body language is a vital ingredient to your ultimate success.

So next time you hear, read or see someone mentioning quite categorically that words only make up 7% of our communication you might want to take what they say with a “pinch of salt”.

Where does that leave us with body language?

Body language is still very important in many aspects of our everyday business and social life.

Very often when we’re in a meeting we are conveying feelings about something, making a proposal about something or trying to convince somebody that what we are saying is a good idea. ie we are offering opinions – intangibles – and thus our body language is also “communicating” as we speak.

If your body language is telling your audience the opposite of the words you are speaking or at least starting to raise doubts in their minds about what you are saying, then you are unlikely to be successful in what you’re trying to achieve.

Confident body language can help to engage your audience. It can help you build rapport more quickly. And it can work even if inside you are still feeling quite nervous.

Body language awareness can also give you an edge when negotiating. If you are able to read possible signals from the other people you are dealing with – tt can help you identify possible areas to investigate further to potentially get yourself a better deal.

So how can our body language workshop help?

We will help you become significantly more atuned to how and where body language can affect the messages you are trying to convey.

We will also help you to take control and have more influence with your own body language.

And finally, we’ll provide you with an insight into how to read and respond to the signals being sent out by the very people you are communicating, negotiating or simply living with.

Developing your skills further

To get some expert advice and coaching and enhance your skills, click on one of the links below:-

Body language Courses – Open to members of the public
Communication Skills Workshops – In-house training for companies and organisations

Skillstudio also offer public courses, 1-2-1 coaching and in-house training in many aspects of presentation skills and communication skills, including public speaking, job interview skills, vocal skills and body language awareness.

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