Word of Mouth – Body Language – BBC Radio 4 – another “Kapow!” by the “Campaign to Stop the Mehrabian Myth”

A repeat of the excellent broadcast from the BBC Radio 4 programme “Word of Mouth”, including amusing exposes of some of the nonsense propagated about “body language”. Only available for 5 more days via the BBC iPlayer (see links in clip) or for longer (I hope) here: http://bit.ly/aeC2ae

 

Extract from clip-link below: http://bit.ly/bvKATF
Mehrabian and nonverbal communication
by Olivia Mitchell

 

Mehrabian is often quoted as saying that the meaning of a message is communicated by:

 

* Your words 7%
* Your tone of voice 38%
* Your body language 55%.
The limitations of Mehrabian’s formula

 

Mehrabian has himself attempted to limit the application of this formula:

 

Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable.

 

In a personal email to Max Atkinson, reproduced in Max’s book “Lend me your Ears” Albert Mehrabian said:

 

I am obviously uncomfortable about misquotes of my work. From the very beginning I have tried to give people the correct limitations of my findings. Unfortunately the field of self-styled ‘corporate image consultants’ or ‘leadership consultants’ has numerous practitioners with very little psychological expertise. (31 October 2002)

 

So if we limit the formula to the specific conditions of the experiments, it is only applicable if:

 

* a speaker is using only one word,
* their tone of voice is inconsistent with the meaning of the word, and
* the judgement being made is about the feelings of the speaker.

 

In other words, in the real world, Mehrabian’s formula is almost never applicable.

Amplify’d from communicate.amplify.com
 Amplifyd from www.bbc.co.uk
Word of Mouth
  • Body Language
How important is body language in the way we communicate? Are some people much better at it than others? Can good body language be taught? Chris Ledgard investigates.
Chris visits Dr Harry Witchel for some body language training, looks into some body language myths, and talks to impressionist Kate Robbins about the way she uses her face and gestures when mimicking people.
Produced by Beatrice Fenton.

Read more at www.bbc.co.uk

 Amplifyd from www.speakingaboutpresenting.com

Campaign to “Stop the Mehrabian Myth”

The main group of people who have propagated the Mehrabian myth are presentation trainers, public speaking coaches and other communications consultants.Read more at www.speakingaboutpresenting.com

Mehrabian’s research: The secondary misinterpretation

by Olivia Mitchell

Since writing my first post, I’ve found that it’s a common secondary misinterpretation made by people who know you can’t apply Mehrabian’s formula to all communications.Read more at www.speakingaboutpresenting.com

Albert Mehrabian’s studies in nonverbal communication

Read more at www.speakingaboutpresenting.com

MehrabianMehrabian

Read more at www.speakingaboutpresenting.com

Read more at communicate.amplify.com

 

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