Josh, the CEO of an IT start-up in Hyderabad, is preparing for what he believes is the biggest opportunity for his organization. He has to present his organization’s latest cloud computing system before a global tech giant. If Josh can nail the presentation, his organization’s fortunes may turn overnight.

At the meeting, Josh manages to cover all the points he had prepared. But something doesn't feel right; the mood in the room after Josh stops speaking is not one of excitement or optimism. A week later, Josh is told that his pitch has been rejected.

What went wrong for Josh had nothing to do with what he said during the presentation. It had to do with how he said it. As a shy public speaker, Josh did not use the necessary skills to hold his audience’s attention. Instead of moderating his voice, Josh delivered the hour-long presentation in a somewhat toneless voice. Instead of using his hands to supplement his words with gestures, Josh kept his hands by his side while speaking.

In other words, Josh made inefficient use of non-verbal communication cues, which ultimately sank his presentation. Perhaps, things could’ve been different for Josh had somebody told him about the Mehrabian Model of Communication before his meeting.

  1. What Is The Mehrabian Model?

  2. How To Regulate Tone Of Voice?

  3. How To Make The Most Of Body Language

What Is The Mehrabian Model?

In the 1970s, Prof. Albert Mehrabian of the University of California in Los Angeles came up with the pathbreaking Mehrabian model to characterize human communication. His studies suggested that as human beings, we overwhelmingly deduce our impressions and feelings about a speaker based on their body language and tone of voice, rather than the content of their speech.

In fact, the Mehrabian model went on to quantify the impact of non-verbal communication through what is now known as the 7-38-55 rule. According to the Mehrabian model, only 7% of personal communication relies on verbal communication or the actual words that are spoken. The remaining 93% lies in non-verbal communication, with 38% comprising tone of voice and 55% concerned with body language.

Therefore, to communicate successfully, the Mehrabian rule can be incorporated into one’s style of communication, with considerable focus on optimizing one’s tone of voice and body language.

But how exactly can this optimization come about? Going through the following steps will answer that question, helping anyone make the most of their communication skills with the Albert Mehrabian Communication Model.

  1. How To Regulate Tone Of Voice

Mastering one’s tone of voice has nothing to do with speaking softly. Rather, it’s about understanding the environment in which you’re speaking and adjusting your voice accordingly. In this regard, these steps will prove useful:

  • Altering the tone and pitch

  • Alterations in tone and/or pitch must be slow and organic, with the pitch usually rising to convey greater emotion and falling to convey greater emphasis

  • If in a big room with few people, echoes can affect a speaker’s voice

  • If addressing a small gathering in a small space, the speaker can continue without a microphone

  • Tone of voice should be consistent with the subject of the speech

  1. How To Make The Most Of Body Language

The Albert Mehrabian rule highlights the importance of body language in communication. The key to using body language effectively is understanding the importance of subtlety and knowing the meaning behind simple, everyday gestures. Let’s check out the following steps to have a much better idea of how one can use body language to convey a message more effectively.

  • Making eye contact with the audience as much as possible

  • Gesturing to stimulate curiosity and interest in the audience

  • Smiling whenever appropriate implies positivity

  • Mirroring or imitating the postures or mannerisms of the other person (without being blatant to the point of mimicking)

  • Avoiding eccentric or confusing gestures, grimaces and poker-faced expressions

Mastering tone of voice and body language is no easy task. It requires regular practical application alongside working knowledge of theories like the Mehrabian Model of Communication.

At Harappa, your employees will be provided with a comprehensive guide to optimizing their communication skills through the Compelling Communication Program. Our program will allow your associates to:

  • Articulate the most important ideas with precision

  • Leverage moments of communication to leave an enduring impression

  • Tailor messages to the audience

Besides the Albert Mehrabian theory, they can learn about other intriguing concepts like Aristotle’s Appeals, the Pyramid Principle, the Power of Three, etc.

With over 20,000 learners and a completion rate of 80%, this program has already been rolled out to organizations like Tata Consultancy Services, Mahindra and British Council.

It’s your organization’s turn next!


Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as The Guide to Distance LearningCommunication For Leaders & The Most Effective Communication Skills For Manager that will help organizations tap into their employee's potential.

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