The 7-38-55 Percent Rule: Why It’s Important

The 7-38-55 Percent Rule: Why It’s Important

The 7-38-55 Percent Rule: Why It’s Important

Published: 09/26/2022
Author: Kelly Michelle
Corporate Dental Sales Trainer

In communication, a speaker’s words only count for a small percentage of his or her efforts. The pitch and tone of the voice, the speed and rhythm of the spoken words, and the pauses between those words may tell more than what is being communicated by the words alone.

Non-Verbal Communication

Gestures, posture, pose, and other non-verbal expressions, usually express a variety of subtle signals. These non-verbal ques can present a listener with important insight to the speaker’s thoughts and feelings and can substantiate or contradict the speaker’s actual words.

One of the first advocates for the power of non-verbal communication was the renowned behavioral psychologist, and UCLA professor, Dr. Albert Mehrabian. Dr. Mehrabian’s extensive research on the topic of body language resulted in the 7-38-55 Percent Rule. The 7-38-55 Rule indicates that only 7% of all communication is done through verbal communication, the words we speak, whereas the nonverbal component of our daily communication, such as the tonality of our voice, make up 38% and 55% from the speaker’s body language and facial expressions.

Following The Rule

Dr. Mehrabian’s research remains relevant today. Chris Voss, author of Never Spilt The Difference, Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It and former FBI hostage negotiator, mentions the importance of the 7-38-55 Percent Rule -

While these figures mainly relate to situations where we are forming an attitude about somebody, the rule nonetheless offers a useful ratio for negotiators. You see, body language and tone of voice – not words- are the most powerful assessment tools. That’s why I’ll often fly great distances to meet someone face-to-face, even when I can say much of what needs to be said over the phone. First, pay very close attention to tone and body language to make sure that they match up with the literal meaning of the words. If they don’t align, it’s quite possible that the speaker is lying or at least unconvinced.” – Chris Voss

Next time you are in a negotiation with a potential patient/client, business associate, or child/ family member - remember the 7-38-55 Percent Rule. Listen to the tone of the speaker’s voice. Watch the speaker’s body language. Chris goes further to say, “if tone and body language do not align with the meaning of the words spoken, use labels (ask questions) to discover the source of the incongruence.”

Nuanced Non-Verbal Dentistry

Through personalized coaching sessions, dental practices are guided on the nuances of non-verbal communication, including gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice. By honing these skills, practitioners can enhance their ability to connect with patients on a deeper level, understand their unspoken needs and concerns, and build trust and rapport effectively.

Recognizing and mastering non-verbal cues such as gestures, posture, and facial expressions, can enhance your ability to interpret others' emotions accurately and establish stronger connections in various interactions. The integration of these principles into communication strategies can lead to more effective negotiations, improved relationships, and enhanced overall communication outcomes. These are the skills you need to take to close big cases.

Fontainebleau Symposium

The Closing Institute’s Mentorship Program coaches dental practices on closing more full arch cases. How do we do that? One way is by coaching dental practices on mastering and identifying non-verbal communication skills.

The Closing Institute’s Annual 2022 Symposium took place at the iconic Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, September 23 and 24th. We were delighted to feature Chris Voss as one of our eight Keynote Speakers. If you missed this spectacular TCI Symposium unlike any event available to the dental community, then you need get ready for the FIRST EVENT of 2023 on February 10th & 11th at Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV!

Are You Looking For A Partner To Take Your Sales Team To The Next Level?

Interested in learning more about closing high-dollar cases? Here at Progressive Dental Marketing, we have a whole content team dedicated to delivering quality content for our ongoing dental SEO marketing clients. Whether you are looking to enhance your online presence, attract new patients, or showcase your expertise in the field, our team is committed to providing quality content tailored to your specific needs. We are the experts when it comes to dental blog content!

Attend The Closing Institute to learn how to predictably scale implant production, by implementing advanced marketing and sales strategies from the leading experts in the industry! With courses in Clearwater, FL and Las Vegas, NV, this isn’t just theory. This is a tried and true method to grow your full arch production and develop your team to strategically and consistently close high-revenue, dental implant procedures.

Dental specialists interested in learning more about Progressive Dental Marketing's award-winning services and continuing education seminars are invited to contact the Closing Institute team! Progressive Dental Marketing can be reached by calling (727) 286-6211 or by visiting Feel free to explore our website and the several case studies we have!

If you are interested in hearing more from Bart Knellinger, come to one of our upcoming dental continuing education courses. Visit today to reserve a spot for you and your team!

Progressive Dental is more than just a marketing company, we are a company dedicated to dental practice growth in Clearwater, FL. Our team was founded on creativity, collaboration and hard work. We are constantly evolving and are passionate about providing the best suite of dental marketing services for our clients. They are the reason we love what we do!

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