At a networking event, I mentioned that I was a presentation coach. It was met with this reply: “Oh, when I speak I always look right above my audience’s head so I don’t have to make eye contact. That’s what my high school public speaking teacher told me to do.”
I pondered whether I should correct her or just smile and move on. In order to become better communicators, the myths of communication must be debunked. Little did my networking friend know that she would be the inspiration for this article. Here we go:
1. 93 percent of communication meaning is nonverbal.
Have you ever tried to watch a foreign film without subtitles? According to this “rule,” you should be able to follow 93 percent of the plot based on vocal intonation and nonverbal signals. Heck, I couldn’t even follow the plot of “Trainspotting” without subtitles, and that movie was in English (kind of). The Mehrabian Myth has been perpetuated throughout the Internet as an undeniable rule of communication. Except that is not what Mehrabian found in his study of communication; he was actually researching emotionally congruent versus incongruent messages. Martin Shovel at Creativity Works does an excellent job debunking this myth in his short video.