What Percentage of Communication is Nonverbal?

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What Percentage of Communication is Nonverbal?

We’ve all learned that nonverbal communication accounts for 90% of the conversation, but is this true? Is it true that someone reading a copy of a politician’s passionate speech misses out on the bulk of the text? While the listener may understand the gist of what was said, when non-verbal communication is not delivered, there is always something lost in the process. On the other hand, nonverbal communication can reveal a message’s deep secrets. Print is no longer the exclusive source of information. It’s disseminated via social media, tv, blogs, and other forms of media. Individuals engaged in a career in communications must be concerned not just with what is said but also with how it is said. Let’s look into how much interaction is nonverbal and how nonverbal cues can help professionals with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication improve their professional and personal life.

The Formula 55/38/7

The estimate of 90% was not conjured up out of thin air. Albert Mehrabian, a body language expert, was the first to break down the elements of a face-to-face discussion. He discovered that body language accounts for 55% of communication, vocal communication for 38%, and writing skills for 7%. This is where the notion that the communication process accounts for the great bulk of communication arose but does this imply that less than 10% of data is delivered through spoken words?

It turns out how the formula above was created with a specific goal in mind: determining a consumer’s perception by matching facial and voice components. “When there are contradictions among verbal and posture dispositions, the postural element should prevail in defining the whole mood that is deduced,” says Mehrabian. Is it true that nonverbal communication accounts for 90% of all conversations? Although the information is communicated verbally, facial expressions and body language can have a significant impact on how data is perceived in face-to-face interaction.

The Definitive Book of Body Language

Allan and Barbara Pease reviewed dozens of recorded sales conversations from the 1970s and 1980s for “The Definitive Book of Body Language.” They discovered that facial expression accounts for the largest share of the negotiating influence. They also considered how, in phone discussions, the individual with the strongest argument usually prevails, though not always in face-to-face discussions. Although the myth that nonverbal communication accounts for 90% of communication can be debunked, a person’s body movement and our first perception of them can have a significant impact on our judgment.

It’s impossible to say how nonverbal communication is, and scientists are currently discussing the topic. Some experts claim that up to 55% of our communication occurs, while others feel that verbal communication accounts for the great bulk of interpersonal language. This research, on the other hand, does not always corroborate these conclusions. Several studies have found that nonverbal communication accounts for the great bulk of interpersonal language. Let’s look at how we interact to see why this is the case.

Nonverbal communication accounts for roughly 93 percent of our conversation. When it’s evident that we’re speaking to ourselves instead of to other people, this percentage rises. We are squandering time if we concentrate entirely on words and say nothing.

Instead, our brains evaluate the message’s content to derive meaning. This suggests that the overwhelming bulk of our effective communication is being put to good use.

A substantial portion of our communication occurs, even if we aren’t always aware of it. Albert Mehrabian studied the subject in the 1960s, finding that body language accounts for about 90% of human communication. His conclusions were based solely on single words; they were somewhat startling. They do, however, emphasize the necessity of recognizing how our body language affects our ability to comprehend what we’re saying.

As per this study, nonverbal communication accounts for 93% of all communication. Furthermore, the “7 percent rule” is widely misunderstood. The bulk of communication does not take place in a verbal format. Without words, the large bulk of us can grasp what we’re saying. Fortunately, we can enhance our communication abilities in the same way we can increase our verbal skills. This study shows that understanding the meaning of words increases our chances of making connections with people.

Other Evidence

Despite this evidence, many additional elements influence nonverbal communication’s efficiency. The bulk of us is entirely unaware of what our bodies are expressing. This can have a significant impact on how people perceive us.

The truth is that excellent nonverbal communication can help you improve your actual quality and connections. It’s also crucial to pay attention to other people’s nonverbal cues.

Those who are worried about the “7% rule” must look into the study that has been done on the subject. Despite what many people believe, most studies have revealed up to 93 percent of nonverbal signals. While some people are excellent at communicating verbally, they struggle to read the body language of others. The so-called “7% rule” can be deceiving. When you’re talking to someone, nonverbal communication is essential. It’s not always easy to figure out what a coworker or supervisor thinks.

Why Nonverbal Communication Is Important?

Nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of interaction. For the most part, this is correct. When speaking with a stranger, the possibilities of being misunderstood are very great. While a person’s body language is not spoken aloud, it can send messages. These views and deeds are frequently misinterpreted as something other than they represent. However, we cannot overlook the significance of nonverbal cues.

Surprisingly, nonverbal communication makes up the bulk of human communication. It has become customary to interact with someone with only a single word via text or email. In fact, nonverbal communication accounts for roughly 90% of all interpersonal language. When you’re talking to someone, your body language has an impact on how they interpret your information. It’s also likely that the individual’s tone of voice has an impact on how the message is received by the other person.

If you’re attempting to communicate with a friend or colleague, you’ll need to know how they use nonverbal signs to connect. They’ll be able to determine when you’re being misunderstood and what the words imply. This is especially true for those who show themselves in different ways. They can impact how others perceive you. As a result, your body language has the power to make or kill a conversation.

As per the 55/38/7 formula, tone and intonation communicate roughly 40% of a person’s attitude, so be sure your tone complements the message you’re attempting to communicate. You might also try using a deeper tone of voice. People who are speaking with a low-pitched tone are perceived as more authoritative and knowledgeable than others who talk with a higher pitch, according to research.

Although most people aren’t aware of their body language or facial emotions, a few habits can be changed to improve communication abilities. For example, a study has shown that frowning when gazing at someone smiling requires intentional effort—a smile is practically infectious. Both females and males are more attracted to persons who make good eye contact frequently, according to research. During initial thoughts and long after, a grin and just the perfect amount of eye contact can help you successfully express information. Hand gestures can be used to show not just your views, but also your fire and excitement for a subject. “Waving can help people create clearer thoughts, speak in tighter phrases, and use more declarative language,” says forensics expert Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman. Similarly to tone, make sure your hand movements correspond to what you’re saying; alternatively, people would notice the disconnect and become less likely to believe you.

Body Language Interpretation

Body language can also reveal information about a person’s emotional state. Even if they claim otherwise, you probably already know that somebody who crosses their arms is cautious or dissatisfied. Reading body language is similar to acquiring a new language in that it can help you distinguish between perception and reality.

We can better comprehend nonverbal signals by recalling the three C’s of nonverbal cues, according to Dr. Jeff Thompson: context, clustering, and unity. Congruence—the comparison of spoken words to body language and tone—has already been discussed. By using context, you can have a deeper understanding of the situation. Knowing somebody has anxiety, for instance, can help clarify why they seem uncomfortable during a firework show. Finally, employing clusters involves influencing our understanding of a person’s body language using numerous expressions or gestures rather than just one.

Expressions on the Face

Many academics have investigated facial movements, which constitute

essential nonverbal communication. When is it most necessary to use facial expressions in interaction? According to a few recent and compelling studies, there are particular scenarios in which people most regularly utilize facial expressions to transmit information that their words may not include. Compassion is one of them. We want others to know when we sympathize with them, and we frequently rely on nonverbal cues, facial expressions—to do so. Also, facial emotions play a big role in deciding who we can trust. There are a plethora of studies that describe this behavior. One of the more intriguing ones investigated collaboration using a game-theoretical method.

Researchers discovered that people’s facial features had a significant impact on their decisions to collaborate or “team-up” with others. Cooperation is one of the most critical indicators of confidence. That paper is a fantastic resource for learning more about the importance of facial gestures in nonverbal communication.

Voice Tonality

Numerous studies, similar to those on facial emotions, show that the tone of your voice has an impact. The tone of one’s voice has an impact on politeness perceptions as well as feelings, including rage. Researchers examined the tone of voice of physicians who saw patients on a daily basis in one fascinating study. They discovered that physicians with a history of malpractice lawsuits had a perceptibly different speech tone than surgeons without a history of malpractice claims.

Nonverbal Communication Techniques With Scientific Backing

You’ve undoubtedly come to the conclusion that nonverbal communication is crucial. But, in terms of commercial and social situations, which strategies are the most useful? There’s some science to back this up as well. Beyond your words, here are a few of the most potent nonverbal cues tactics you may employ to round up your communication skills:

Laugh, Laugh, Laugh

Smiling is one of those things which is almost always a good idea. Really. As it turns out, the proverb “You’re never properly dressed without a smile” holds a lot of reality. According to a study published in 2011, both males and females are more attracted to persons who smile. The facial expression that came with the smile was also a great plus. There’s also evidence that if you smile gently, people will see you as more genuine.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Hands to Talk and Think

Motions are great for getting your argument through, as we described in detail above. Furthermore, as a speaker, using gestures might assist you in thinking through your own ideas. It reduces the “cognitive load” involved with talking, allowing you to communicate in a more casual and relaxed manner.

Gestures have also been shown to make you more pleasant, memorable, and engaging, according to studies. Take advantage of this! There’s no drawback to gesturing, whether you’re seeing somebody one-on-one or presenting a big presentation. All it will do is improve your charm and make your enthusiasm more contagious.


Bottom line: While there is no definitive percentage of communication that is nonverbal, nonverbal cues are undeniably important. We all speak a variety of “languages,” and words are just one of them.

Once you understand how all of these various types of communication interact, you can begin to develop a more comprehensive communication style. You may improve your relatability and likability, as well as your ability to “read” other people. On your next video call, give it a shot.

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Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

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