7-38-55 Rule

7-38-55 Rule

What is it?

The 7-38-55 rule is a general guideline for body language and communication, which suggests that communication is made up of 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% actual words spoken. This means that nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture, play a more significant role in communication than the words themselves.

The 7-38-55 Rule, also known as Mehrabian's Rule, is a communication principle proposed by psychologist Albert Mehrabian. It suggests that when we communicate our feelings and attitudes, the message we convey consists of three main elements: body language, tone of voice, and words. According to the rule, the impact of these elements on the listener is distributed as follows:

  1. 55% comes from body language (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc.)
  2. 38% comes from tone of voice (pitch, volume, intonation, etc.)
  3. 7% comes from the actual words spoken

In simple terms, this rule implies that non-verbal cues (body language and tone of voice) have a more significant impact on how our message is received than the words we use. However, it's important to note that Mehrabian's findings mainly apply to situations where we communicate feelings and attitudes, not necessarily factual information.

Here are some simple examples:

  1. If someone says "I'm fine" with a smile, relaxed posture, and a cheerful tone, we are likely to believe they are genuinely fine due to their positive body language and tone of voice, despite the generic words.
  2. Conversely, if a person says "I'm fine" with ...