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According to a well-known study by Professor Albert Mehrabian of UCLA, an expert in personal communication, believability in a message is comprised of three elements. Those message elements are verbal (your words), vocal (your tone of voice) and visual (your facial expressions and body language). Meharabian researched which elements people find the most believable when they receive an inconsistent message. For example, envision a new employee in front of you saying, “I’m excited about this job,” While they make this statement, they are looking downward, examining their fingernails. They do not make eye contact. Their voice is shaky and soft. This employee is giving you an inconsistent message. The research determined that we “weight” each of the elements in the following manner: Verbal = 7% Vocal = 38% Visual = 55% Total = 100% What does this mean to our Telephone image? Clearly, when we lose the “Visual” element over the telephone, we are losing the most “believable” portion of the message. So it means that our tone of voice is even more important than our words when we are trying to convey a professional, courteous and caring image. Recognizing and controlling your tone of voice requires awareness and practice.

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