93% of Communication is Non-Verbal? Can this be true?

You may have heard or read somewhere about this statistic, "93% of human communication is non-verbal..." and it comes from research done by a man named Dr. Albert Mehrabrian, author of a book called Silent Messages, where he summarizes all his research on the topic. He found in these studies that 7% of any message from one person to another is conveyed through words, 38% through vocal sounds that were not distinct enough to be described as words, and 55% through things like facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc. So if we do the math, 100% minus 7% is 93%, so 93% of how we communicate is through a form or forms other than words! Pretty amazing right?!? Well, it turns out that since then we have discovered this to be both true and not true. Since communication is so variable between different people, cultures, ages, languages, IQ, ...there is more of a spectrum of how we convey what we want to convey to others. In other words, the take away is more like, the majority of what we communicate is non-verbal, but 93% is probably not an exact percentage of the amount all of the time. 

What to do with this information? Whether we like it or not, we communicate our mood to the world. That's the point I hope to get across. This is a good reason to take care of ourselves. If we take care of ourselves, stay compassionate during times of stress, find out what helps us feel fulfilled, happy, loving and lovable creatures, then what we communicate to the world through our nonverbal communication tends to be those positive things. Learning how to take care of ourselves can be challenging, especially when many of us are trying to make ends meet financially. This is where I would introduce the concept of successive approximation. What does success approximation mean? It means taking a shot! It means shooting at your target (or goal) over and over until you get closer and closer and closer. Then when you have take enough shots you finally hit you target! This is one way to think about self care. You don't have to do all your self care techniques all at once to change your level of happiness; just start with one, then another, then another, one week or one month at a time. 

For more reading on the topic of non-verbal communication check out these links :)

The Nonverbal Group

An interesting Journal Article