Are you Being Heard? The Science Behind Communication
At MarketMakers, as a telemarketing company we are naturally interested in communication, in fact we are almost obsessed by it. Whether it is in the marketing department looking at how we communicate with our prospects, to the training team working to develop the skills of our diallers, ensuring that they are maximising every opportunity for our clients.
So what set me off on this train of thought today and prompted this blog? Well I had read earlier today an article on Econsultancy that highlighted that only 20% of the content on your web pages actually gets read. Just 20%!
At first I thought this can’t be right but actually it makes a lot of sense. We all tend to scan across a page looking for the key information we want before we actually commit to reading it. Now, combine this with a busy work or home environment and we don’t have long to capture and engage our audience.
This then led to me wondering how this translates to actual conversations and real world interactions.
Albert Mehrabian and the “7%-38%-55% Rule”
Well according to a study by a Psychologist named Albert Mehrabian in 1971 he concluded that in face to face communications there are 3 core elements that contribute to the way we communicate with each other.
- Tone of voice
- Nonverbal behaviour e.g. body language and facial expressions
From his study he deduced that these three elements affect our liking for a person based on the way that they transmit their feelings on a subject and we then perceive them.
He wrote that words account for 7%, tone of voice 38% and that body language represents 55% of the interaction!
So these findings would suggest that as an individual you are more likely to be viewed more positively if your tone of voice and body language are also positive.
This study has been widely discussed over the years with many arguments both and for and against it being put forth on a regular basis.
So assuming that this is indeed correct, we can see quite quickly that as we operate over the telephone we have a potentially significant problem… The lack of body language and at 55%, according to the study, this is the biggest factor. One that is not really an option for us on a daily basis until such time that video calls become the standard way to communicate.
So this leaves us with the actual words we say at 7% and tone of voice at 38%. So this means we have to be far more efficient with what we have to work with.
Tone of Voice
This is a big one, your tone of voice can betray you in so many ways. We have all had phone calls where we just know the person at the other end is not interested in us despite what they are actually saying.
So how can you overcome this?
Commit to every call with a sense of sincerity, this will come across in the way you manage the whole call.
When someone is passionate, that passion for something can become infectious and we buy into that.
We have said it before and it is something of mantra here at MarketMakers but “Smile when you dial” is true and it really works. When you smile, your whole tone of voice changes with it and it is easily noticed at the other end of the call.
What you say
This makes up 7% but given the absence of body language this 7% is more critical than ever. No one is ever going to close a deal or a make an appointment by deliberately talking gibberish.
However if you don’t carefully consider what you say and when you say it, you might as well be speaking in tongues.
So how do you make that 7% work for you?
Make every word you say count by making it coherent, ask yourself how often someone asks you to repeat yourself and you will gain an insight into whether you need to look at your speech patterns.
You want have long to make an initial impression, maybe 30 seconds to get your opening statement in place and capture the prospects attention. Keep it to the point and say what you mean and mean what you say.
By this we mean don’t trip yourself up by using language you don’t really understand as this will leave you looking un-credible and diminish the rapport you have built. Don’t lie. You will always get caught out, we know it is tough, you have targets to hit but heading down this path, it can cause far more damage long term. Just don’t do anything that could jeopardise the trust you have built up or the harm the brand perception.
There is an old saying “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance” and so if you only have a 30 second window to create impact then having this opening statement planned and rehearsed is critical as is knowing where you are going after that. Plan the flow of the call and plan to keep control.
In summary this list could go on and on but ultimately it is important to remember that being successful with people is about so much more than what you say and how you say it and what you do when you say it is critical in building and developing business (and personal) relationships.