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Analogue Marking

Analogue Marking is using a verbal or non-verbal cue to mark out words in a sentence, or mark out space.

It will mean that you could see the progression of the movement somehow, like a hand movement outlining details.

If it were a watch, the hands ticking are an analogue movement.

From the research of Professor Birdwhistel (often misrepresented as Bob Birdwhistle and other names) and Albert Mehrabian it has been demonstrated that only 7% of the meaning of our communication is carried in the words we use. The remaining 93% is carried in the physiology and voice tonality we use when we communicate. 55% in our physiology and 38% our voice tonality.Analogue marking is when someone marks out a particular word or phrase with something none verbal. This enables us to pick up incongruence’s. For instance someone says “yes” and marks the word by shaking their head no.

Three elements of communication – and the “7%-38%-55% Rule”
In his studies, Mehrabian (1971) comes to two conclusions. Firstly, that there are basically three elements in any face-to-face communication:

Words, tone of voice and body language.

According to Mehrabian, these three elements account differently for the meaning of the message: words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% of the message. They are often abbreviated as the “3 Vs” for Verbal, Vocal & Visual.

For effective and meaningful communication about emotions, these three parts of the message need to support each other in meaning – they have to be “congruent”. In case of any “incongruency”, the receiver of the message might be irritated by two messages coming from two different channels, giving cues in two different directions.

The following example should help illustrate incongruence in verbal and non-verbal communication.

Verbal: “I do not have a problem with you!”
Non-Verbal: person avoids eye-contact, looks anxious, has a closed body language, etc.
It becomes more likely that the receiver will accept the predominant form of communication, which to Mehrabian’s findings is non-verbal (38 + 55 %), rather than the literal meaning of the words (7 %).

It is important to say that in the respective study, Mehrabian conducted experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like-dislike), and that the above, disproportionate influence of tone of voice and body language becomes only effective when the situation is ambiguous. Such ambiguity appears mostly when the words spoken are inconsistent with the tone of voice or body language of the speaker (sender).

Misinterpretation of Mehrabian’s rule

Unfortunately, this “7%-38%-55% Rule” has been overly interpreted in such way, that some people claim that in any communication situation, the meaning of a message was being transported mostly by non-verbal cues, not by the meaning of words. This generalization, from the initially very specific conditions in his experiments, is the basic mistake around “Mehrabian’s rule”, and on his web page the scientist clearly states this.

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