Communicate fully with the 7_38_55 Rule

If you do not know what the 7 – 38 – 55 rule is, do not worry, most people don’t.

When you speak you are not just communicating your words. Those are the details, but they are not the full intent of your message.

90% of life is spent trying to communicate with the people around you. Yet you rarely communicate effectively because you get too caught up trying to get your point across rather than the following intention people are picking up. There are three reasons for this:

  • First, you don’t know the 7 – 38 – 55 rule.
  • Second, you are not truly present and in the moment.
  • Third, you don’t realize the fullness of the 7 – 38 – 55 rule.

The first and last ones are easy. Dr. Albert Mehrabian conducted a number of studies on non-verbal communication. He found that only 7% of any message is about the and details, these are conveyed through words. 38% is expressed through vocal elements such as pitch and tone, and 55% is expressed through nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, and other unspoken actions.

The 7% that contains the details of the message are important when it comes to the success or failure of a venture (i.e. meeting up for a dinner or a date), but not the sentiment, i.e. whether it’s going to be enjoyable to ugly. This does not necessarily account for how big of a problem your partnership is going to be or how smoothly it will develop. The ease with which your social or working condition will always be is based on the other non-spoken cues.

If you’re unsure of this, go to YouTube and pick a clip of real people that you can watch several times. Mute the volume and watch the clip. Take some notes on how the two people communicate. Make note if they seem happy or sad, if they are in lock-step or out of sync. Focus on whether they seem to connect or not, or if they agree or disagree. Are they a team or growing or growing frustrated with each other?

What I find amazing is how few cues it takes to get the idea of how well they communicate without even hearing the words.

It doesn’t really matter about what they are talking about, what matters is what emotions are behind their interaction, which is the basis for their ability to connect, or not.

Turn the volume back up and see how correct you were in your notes.  They could have been talking about love or debt, where to go on vacation or taking a mortgage out on their new home.Those are the details found in that 7%. The rest, the outcome of their contact depends on the remaining 93% of their interaction, or the non-verbal elements where the facts just don’t matter.

Did they come together or fall apart? Did they agree or disagree? Were they in sync or badly misaligned? What you will probably notice is that while they may have transferred the data they may not have really communicated their intentions, and that is where two people, in business or in love, all too often fall apart.

Be well, and I hope this helps,

 

 

Jeff

 

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