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Listening facts you never knew

By Kristin Piombino | Posted: June 25, 2013
Do you want a promotion?
If so, you may want to reevaluate your communication skills.
According to
an infographic
from Get In Front Communications, subscribers to the Harvard Business Review rated the ability to communicate “the most important fact in making an executive promotable.” They ranked it more important than ambition, education and hard work.
The infographic goes on to list other statistics about communication and listening. For example, did you know that we derive 55 percent of a message’s meaning from the speaker’s facial expressions, 38 percent from how he says the message and 7 percent from the actual words spoken?
Here are a few more facts:
· We listen to people at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1,000-3,000 words per minute.
· Less than 2 percent of people have had any formal education on how to listen.
· Images go into your long term memory, whereas words live in your short term memory.

Take a look at the graphics below for more information:

Kristin Piombino is an editorial assistant for Ragan.com.

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+4

Mike ·

5 days ago

While I agree that undestanding the what is happeniong as we communicate with others is incredibly important and can give you wonderful insight and maybe even a slight advantage. I, however, do not neccisarily agree with all of the statisics quoted above…they were probably derived from a single research study and could be flawed….and..when communicating with others there are so many things going on, both verbally and nonverbally, that it is hard to pin down absolute numbers like they have done above.

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1 reply

· active 1 day ago
+2

Fkay ·

5 days ago

Thank you for the sharing this. It makes sense and I agree, communication skills are important, for a promotion and even lending yourself a good job. What I would like to know is how does one improve their communication skills….

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+5

Steve B ·

5 days ago

I find it difficult to believe that words on paper convey only 7% of information compared to seeing and hearing the same words spoken. Maybe so in some circumstances, but in my opinion such a generalization is absurd.

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2 replies

· active 1 day ago
+6

Joan ·

5 days ago

As an educator and sales trainer for major corporations for the past 30 years, I can tell you that the information provided is dead accurate. The data is met with the same skepticism by most students until exercises prove it to be true, which can’t be done in a written article. Listening is the most important skill we can have and is one of the most difficult to master. The phrase “God gave us two ears and only one mouth because he knew listening was harder”, is right on.

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7 replies

· active 2 days ago
-2

William Viel ·

4 days ago

Everyone should listen to Joan (above) she is correct on all counts.

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+2

Darcey ·

4 days ago

Fkay, a great and fun way to improve one’s communication skills is to join a local Toastmasters club –
http://www.toastmasters.org/
.

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2 replies

· active 4 days ago
+11

Dawn Cook ·

4 days ago

It may be of interest to note the statistics on 55%, 38% and 7% are from Albert Mehrabian’s research and he has expressed frustration about his research being misused because it was a specific set of conditions and related to how we interpret the meaning around feelings and attitudes. On his website he writes:

“Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like–dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable”.

Good information for those of us who are educators of communication.

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1 reply

· active 2 days ago
+1

Christine ·

4 days ago

Dawn thanks for clarifying the source of the statistics as context is very important with what is most effective in communication

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1 reply

· active 4 days ago
0

Sam M. ·

3 days ago

Please cite your sources and avoid making things up, such as: “Images go directly into long-term memory, where they are indelibly etched.” Also, psychology/neuroscience research no longer supports the “7 items in working memory” concept. Current research supports 4 items, but the use of “chunking” can increase these numbers.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v390/n6657/a…

Reply

-1

Laszlo ·

3 days ago

This 7% maybe true for a person who is not only extroverted but also very superficial and does not understand the matter. For a deep thinker, it is just the opposite: words, sentences and their logic count, and facial play and body language only things to filter them out.

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Karen F. Dimanche Davis
1p ·

1 day ago

Our verbal skills are interconnected: increased skills in one improves the other three (speaking, listening, reading, writing). Students often assert they do not need to take class notes, as they remember well. Their tests prove them wrong. Listening is focused attention. Careful listening, like carefuk driving, can be exhausting, especially if one is also attending to visuals and taking notes of key points (as for minutes). How to improve listening skills? I begin classes with a name-remembering execise, explaining the skills used, and repeat it during the first 2-3 weeks of classes. Any exercise like the “telephone” game can improve listening/focus skills, or any form of immediate testing. Flash cards improve focus. Meditation is focused attention.

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Vernon Huffman ·

1 day ago

Perhaps the biggest block to effective communication is a cultural tendency to perceive competition. Defensive reactions block effective listening and mute natural tendencies to empathize. Compassionate Communication and Verbal Aikido are two ways around this problem.

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