Language Is Inherently Vague

If you’ve worked with me before then you’ve probably heard me discuss the 7/38/55 rule. If not, let me explain.

In communication:

  • 7% of the meaning comes from our words

  • 38% of the meaning comes from our tone of voice

  • 55% of the meaning comes from our body language

According to Webster’s dictionary there are roughly 1 million English words. No matter what words you say, if your tone of voice and body language don’t align with them, then it is very likely that your message will not be understood as you intended it to be.

Check out this video where I demonstrate the 7/38/55 rule to really paint the picture for you.

The biggest problem I see people have when communicating, especially when public speaking or presenting to a group, is that they are so focused on trying to remember what they want to say that their bodies begin to say something completely different. This is especially true for non-native English speakers, but also true for native speakers that have created pressure for themselves in these situations.

How can we make sure our bodies and mouths are speaking the same language?

This is a question that I for sure don’t get asked enough. Everyone should be very curious as to how they can become better presenters and communicators, but I believe human bias, or perhaps pride, is a bit overbearing here. This is truly a million dollar question. And the answer is quite simple…

We can make sure our bodies and mouths are saying the same things by being more conscious of our bodies in these situations. “Well duh, but how do we do that?” Do this simply by telling yourself before you speak to make a conscious effort to pay attention to your body and your audience’s facial expressions and their body language while you’re speaking. At some point during your presentation, or whatever it is that has you talking to others, it will come to your mind that you should be aware of what your body is saying.

It’s truly that simple. If you catch yourself in a position that you know is awkward or not in line with the message you’re trying to convey, fix your body in a natural manner. As you speak more, this will become a habit and will allow you to have overall better body language while speaking.

If this was helpful or interesting for you, please share!

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