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What Language Do You Speak?

We place a lot of emphasis on our words and tone, but often overlook the hidden messages we send through our body language, and this is especially true when working online.

In our webinar ‘What Language Do You Speak?’ at 10 – 11 am on Wednesday 15th June (click to book), we’ll take a look at how you can become more effective by using your body to reinforce your communication, online and in-person.

Albert Mehrabian’s research suggests that 55% of our message is transmitted and understood through body language, 38% through voice and only 7% through the actual words that we use.

7-38-55 Rule_Future Proof Learning

The 7/38/55 Rule is decades old and relates to a very specific context, but it gives us a useful rule of thumb to work with and a manageable breakdown of language which we still use today.

In today’s hybrid video and face-to-face world, the breakdown is different and we would suggest focusing on three areas: Voice, Body and Online.


Sound and communication expert Julian Treasure says that people want to listen to us when we HAIL, which means speaking with:

  • Honesty – We love to listen to people who share stories openly and honestly, it helps to make social connections and to relate to one another.
  • Authenticity – We can usually tell when someone is being false, and it rubs us up the wrong way. Treasure’s advice is to “stand in your own truth”. Be yourself and there’s no need for competition.
  • Integrity – This is about walking the talk. Practice what you preach, and you’ll build the social proof that you need.
  • Love – Your message won’t land if you’re judging or spreading hate. Love your audience, love your message, and spread joy generously.


There are two key components to when it comes to body language:

  • Illustrators – These are non-verbal movements that help us to reinforce our message by acting out or underlining the significance of certain words. Think of Gordon Ramsay’s constant hand-chopping movements or Alan Sugar’s pointing finger.
  • Regulators – These are non-verbal cues which, funnily enough, regulate the other person’s speaking, such as a nodding head to show agreement or raised eyebrows in disbelief.

A successful speaker will use both movements to reinforce their message and to respond to others in kind.


So, what’s different online?

In short, a lot. But the good news is that there is also a lot that we can do to have more of an impact online and much of it is quite straightforward.

In her book, ‘Digital Body Language’, Erica Dhawan tells us that there are four pillars of digital body language:

  1. Value Visibly
  2. Communicate Carefully
  3. Collaborate Confidently
  4. Trust Totally

If you’d like to find out how you can have more of an impact online and offline, please sign up for our webinar ‘What Language Do You Speak’ on Zoom here.