Don’t tell me you love me if you are not prepared to look me in the eye – getting your message across!

A recent post talked about wearing masks! I suppose in some ways this touches on the same subject – authenticity!  Are you authentic in your conversations with others?   Do you show you like them? It does help in getting the message across!  But maybe not quite as much as we have been led to believe!

Are you like me?  Have you spent many happy hours at seminars and training courses  where the 3V (Verbal, Vocal, Visual) rule was quoted and you were told that words count for 10% or less of any face to face conversation! Well, guess what, that isn’t always true! It isn’t even what the 3V rule actually says!

The rule is based on the work of Professor Albert Mehrabian who carried out two studies in the 1960s.  Those studies were about feelings and communicating emotion.

He found that our liking for the person who was communicating their feelings to us consisted of 7% Verbal Liking + 36% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial (Visual) Liking.

If you want someone to like you then make sure your words are consistent with your tone, your eye contact and your body language!

7% Verbal, 36% Vocal and 55% Visual was such a simple concept and so easy to articulate that it drifted into communications theology and became received wisdom!

In reality other studies have been quite inconsistent!  And the balance between the 3Vs varies in context.  For example, it is fairly obvious that if you are giving a lecture on a technical subject your words, and the precise way you use them, becomes rather more important than whether you smile.

But smiling does help!

All communication is a two-way process and people are more likely to listen to you if they like you!

So if you want to get your message across you can’t ignore Professor Mehrabian’s work on conveying genuine emotion and his 3Vs.

In one to one encounters, show genuine interest in the other person and listen closely to what they say. Smile, be warm and enthusiastic – show you care about your subject, nothing is more attractive! But don’t overwhelm them and don’t fake it!

Find something to like in your audience!  If you find out enough about them, you’ll find something to like.

Professor Mehrabian’s findings may not be what we first thought they were, but they are still enormously valuable.

You can find his website at this link and I would very pleased to hear your own experiences.  What works for you when you are trying to get the message across?



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