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