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Tone of Voice and Non-Verbal Communication are More Important than You Think for a Successful Interview
Albert Mehrabian is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA. He is famous for a study on the importance of verbal and non-verbal messages. Essentially, he found that the effectiveness of our communication or influence is 7% verbal, 38% tone of voice, and 55% body language. Since most interview preparation focuses on “what” we say, in other words: the verbal aspect, I was surprised when I heard this statistic.
After some further research and reading regarding this study, I have found that many have misinterpreted the study and suggestions on how to communicate, and too many people have de-emphasized the importance of verbal content in a speech and interview. Regardless, the statistics are thought provoking enough to encourage those preparing for an interview to pay attention to their tonal delivery and non-verbal communication. Even at Cameron-Brooks, I started to wonder if we encourage candidates to spend a disproportionate amount of time on being ready to deliver interview answers with strong verbal substance and not enough in the other two areas.
This has led me now to encourage those preparing for interviews to prepare and improve in all three areas before an interview. Preparing thoughtful verbal responses, which is very different than memorized and canned answers and highly discouraged, is covered heavily in PCS to Corporate America 4th. Ed. and throughout our Learning Library ( http://www.cameron-brooks.com/candidates_resourcecenter.html ). While some content is covered regarding tonal and non-verbal, it is disproportionate to the UCLA study. While I don’t agree with lessening the preparation of verbal answers, I am advocating, to anyone preparing for an interview or even a speech, to find ways to improve tone and non-verbal communication.
A book that I recently started reading How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in Any Situation by Frances Cole Jones gives a lot great tips on how to do this. She also has a robust website http://www.francescolejones.com/ with some very good blog articles. I also enjoyed the two podcast episodes she did with The Art of Manliness at http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/12/20/podcast-164-how-to-wow-in-relationships-and-business/ and http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/06/20/podcast-211-ask-frances-difficult-conversations-small-talk-and-charisma/.