Working Conversations Episode 5:

Debunking the Myth that 93% of Communication is Nonverbal

Ever heard that only 7% of our communication is verbal and 93% is nonverbal?

This is one of the widely misused pieces of research, and biggest urban legends in communication, psychology, and human behavior that is out there.

And it's been quoted by thousands of so-called experts on communication and human behavior, as they try to use that formula to explain how our communication works.

Well, my friends, I am here to set the record straight and I am wildly passionate about this topic.

In this episode, I debunk this pervasive urban myth and explain exactly where those numbers came from and why they are not accurate.

To help you grasp it easily, here’s why: Every situation is different and every situation calls for our communication to be adapted to that situation.  There are no standard – or even average – percentages that could ever be accurate. Sometimes our communication is 100% verbal, as in an email or text. And sometimes our communication is 100% visual, like when we roll our eyes or exchange a knowing glance with someone.

 To learn more and understand exactly how I passionately debunked this idea, listen here or wherever you listen to podcasts.

And once you learn this truth, you will be officially deputized by me to help spread the word if you ever hear someone saying that 93% of human communication is nonverbal, or that only 7% of communication is based on our words. You will be required to send them a link to this podcast and set them straight.

In this episode, you will also learn some valuable lessons and lasting contributions that I pull from the original research studies that started this myth.

As a bonus, I also shared in this episode the Janel’s Rule of 3 to avoid miscommunication from spiraling.


Dr. Albert Mehrabian did the research this is all based on and he spent his career on the faculty of the Psychology Department at UCLA.

Dr. David Lapakko, a professor at Augsburg University, has spent considerable time and effort setting the record straight on Dr. Mehrabian’s research. You can read his work on this topic here: Communication is 93% Nonverbal: An Urban Legend Proliferates.




🎙 Listen on Apple Podcasts
📩 Email me Show Notes