Leaders are constantly being observed and watched, analysed and interpreted.
Every word said and every action taken is amplified, assessed and examined.
How then can we ensure that the right messages are being sent?
Albert Mehrabian in his book “Silent Messages”, talks about ‘The 7-38-55 Rule’.
In communicating attitudes and feelings:
- 55% is in the facial expression (Body Language)
- 38% is in the way words are said (Tone of Voice)
- 7% is in the words that are spoken (Spoken Word)
When there is inconsistency between the three elements – body language, tone of voice & spoken word – the receiver will tend to rely more on the non verbal elements in determining the meaning of the message. “When actions contradict words, people rely more heavily on actions to infer another’s feelings.” says Prof. Mehrabian. It is therefore imperative that all the three elements support each other.
As leaders, we need to take a step back and re-examine the way we communicate in the light of ‘The 7% – 38% – 55% Rule’. We need to be aware that the meaning of our communication will be interpreted both by the words we use and in the way that we deliver our words. Unless our words, tone of voice, body language and more broadly our actions align, people will walk away conflicted.
Setting an example is the most powerful form of communication.
What we do speaks so loud that people cannot hear what we’re saying!
We are always communicating whether we mean to or not!
We are always sending a message!