7, 38 & 55

I’m going to make a bet that you won’t be able to get these three numbers out of your head after reading this.

These three numbers have popped in to my stream of consciousness anytime I’ve met someone new. So specifically (based off of a sample size of n = 1) my bet is you will think of these numbers when you find yourself making an impression of someone, or deciding if you like or dislike someone.

It all started when I read the following passage from Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Rahz a few weeks ago:

In two famous studies on what makes us like or dislike somebody,1 UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian created the 7-38-55 rule. That is, only 7 percent of a message is based on the words while 38 percent comes from the tone of voice and 55 percent from the speaker’s body language and face.

This was completely backwards from what I would have assumed but the reality is the most important thing for making a good impression is my body language and face… then my tone… and lastly… the words I say.

So remember: 7% words, 38% tone, 55% body language

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