Most of the public speaking books, sessions, and coaches often refer to Albert Mehrabian studies, and in particular, to the so-called “7%-38%-55% rule” about the various components of effective communication: 7% verbal, 38% vocal, 55% body language/facial expressions.


This rule is being completely misinterpreted, because it refers only to communicating feelings and emotions, and cannot be applied to general communication.

Please stop using it to say that words and slides are not important or less important.

Of course, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice are critical to delivering a message effectively. Still, the importance of the message’s content is not a bare 7% of the total.

One simple exercise you can do is open a video, turn off the audio, and only look at body language and facial expressions, no words, no slides, and no content. You’ll quickly find that you’re missing more than 7%.

-Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash