Friday, 16 October 2009

93% of the message is complete twaddle- The truth is much better

We've all heard the numbers- 7% of your meaning is contained in the words you say; 35% in the vocal delivery and the rest (I can't be bothered to do the sums), is body language... Well folks it seems like even the guy who did the study thinks it's not true.  Dr Albert Meherabian did the work back in the 60's, with a very specififc focus- Read here if you're interested

So if these numbers are so limited as a piece of research, why do we trainers use them so much?  Is it to give us credibility?  To add proof to the value of what we do?  Who knows, but the thing to remember for presenters is that your power as a speaker is a fragile combination of -

  1. You and how enthusiastic, confident, open and credible you are
  2. The quality of your story and the logic in the path you take through your topic
  3. The audience you're facing and how you deal with what they bring into the room
The great thing about brilliance is that it's derived differently for each one of us, and we can all be brilliant (or rubbish) in different ways, for different reasons, on different days. 

The most moving speech I've ever heard was given by a very nervous 19 year old girl, with terrible diction, in halting prose with no visual aids, in a terrible room, at a wedding.  It was the bride's daughter saying how much she appreciated what she'd done for her since she, her sister and her mum had been abandoned by her father 20  years before.  It's the only time I've ever cried at a wedding.

Why was it so powerful?  Because she was telling the heartfelt truth.

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