The words we use carry only a 7% weightage in the entire verbal communication process. What’s the other 93%?

Communication is a two-way process of exchange of ideas, opinions and knowledge. As we look around, every organism uses some form of communication, ranging from sniffing each other’s bodies to using actual words for expression.

The animals all use simple means to communicate. They use actions or sounds to express and talk to each other. Or it may seem so because we do not have all the understanding into it. But human communication is a rather complex process. With the words carrying so many meanings, it becomes important to be wholesome while communicating as the parts may lead to incomplete or inaccurate presentation.

The 7% Rule

Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, after thorough research came to the conclusion that the content or the words that we use carry only a 7% weightage in the whole scheme of verbal communication. Oh! But aren’t they words that make up the entire communication system? Do we actually use something other than words while communicating? Yes, people with no speaking ability or those in an exam hall use actions but that can’t be the standard.

Professor Mehrabian says that that of the remaining 93%, 55% is occupied by our body language and the remaining 38% is taken up by voice. Though the statistics cannot be applied universally to each context, they provide deep insights. In this respect, it is also important to note that this model talks about communicating feelings and attitudes. The model may not hold at all if the feelings or attitudes are removed from the equation. Having said that, if the presentation is not a hard-core Science convention type of a setting, these rules will still follow. The degree, however, might be different.

The 93%

Let’s look at what this whole so important and huge percentage is all about.


Voice refers to the paralanguage or essentially the components of our voice. Our voice is not all words. Whatever we speak adopts a certain

  • Pitch or Shrillness
  • Amplitude or Volume
  • Tone
  • Stress
  • Pace
  • Emotion
  • Certain Sounds

Body Language

Body language refers to the

  • Facial Expressions
  • Gestures or Hand Movements
  • Postures
  • Gait
  • Eye Movements

All of these come together to make the expression much more impressive and comprehensive. Thus, it is extremely important to pay attention to the non-verbal aspects of communication, sometimes, even more than it is to focus on the verbal ones.

You might be able to hold your audience with a great personality and a captivating way of presentation even if your content is not outstanding. But it might be extremely difficult to keep your audience interested with only good content. And no, the audience doesn’t refer to people who listen to you when you are on stage. Audience is anybody you want to share your ideas or opinions with.

So, work on yourself and work on your soft skills and communication skills. Let us know if we can help or if you are unsure, give us a call and we’ll figure it out for you.

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