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Mehrabian’s Communication Theory

Background Information on Albert Mehrabian:

Albert Mehrabian was a psychologist and a professor at UCLA, famous for his studies on nonverbal communication. He was born in Iran in 1939 and later moved to the United States to pursue higher education. He is best known for his work on the communication model, often called the Mehrabian Communication Model.


The Research and Concept:

Mehrabian's Communication Model states that communication is made up of three components: verbal, vocal, and visual. According to his research, when we communicate, the words we use accounts for only 7% of our message, the tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55%. This means that our nonverbal cues play a much more significant role in communication than the actual words we use.


Why is this Model Important?

This model is vital for trainers, employees, employers, and basically, everybody who communicates because it helps us to understand the importance of nonverbal cues in communication. It is essential to be aware of how we communicate nonverbally, as it can often contradict what we say verbally. This can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations, which can have negative consequences. By being aware of our nonverbal communication, we can ensure that our message is consistent and clear.



Imagine a cake where the words we use are the cake's base, and the icing on the cake is our nonverbal communication. The cake can still be eaten without the icing, but it will not be as enjoyable.

Think of a movie where the dialogue is the words the characters speak, and the music and visuals are the nonverbal communication. While the dialogue is essential, the music and visuals create the movie's emotions and tone.


Real-life Examples:

In a job interview, the words you use to answer the interviewer's questions are essential. However, your body language and tone of voice can also impact the interviewer's impression of you.

In a romantic relationship, saying "I love you" is essential, but the way you say it and your nonverbal communication can also convey the depth of your feelings.


How and Where to Use this Model:

This model can be used in various settings, including personal and professional communication. We must be aware of our nonverbal cues when communicating with others to ensure our message is clear and consistent. Trainers can also use this model when teaching communication skills to help individuals become more aware of their nonverbal communication and improve their communication skills.



Albert Mehrabian

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Kaan Mert Güven

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