We are slightly wary of the precise numbers within Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Communication Model from a work context, but that’s not really the point of the model. Even Professor Mehrabian called out words of caution around the absolute accuracy of these percentage in his work. He noted that his research focused on the communication of emotions and feeling, and acknowledged that contributing factors will be quite different when different topics are being discussed.
Regardless of the exact accuracy of the model, or the specific topics of conversation that it relates to, we like it. We think the underlying message, that words alone don’t constitute communication, is very important.
Many individuals and leaders fail to appreciate the importance of other means of communication. By focusing on non-verbal signs from others they can improve their awareness of others and their awareness of the impact of their words and actions on others.
We know that many people have strong views about this model, and we apologise if we are missing some of the nuance in this summary.