One of the books I read last year for my 50 book challenge was a book by Chris Voss called “Never Split The Difference”.

Here you can read a short synopsis:

“A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.”

In one part of the book the author refers to the concept of “The 7% rule”:

In 1971, Albert Mehrabian published a book Silent Messages, in which he discussed his research on non-verbal communication. He concluded that prospects based their assessments of credibility on factors other than the words the salesperson spoke—the prospects studied assigned 55 percent of their weight to the speaker’s body language and another 38 percent to the tone and music of their voice. They assigned only 7 percent of their credibility assessment to the salesperson’s actual words.

But there’s more…

Phil Yaffe thinks that the 7 percent rule is a pernicious myth. He debunks the notion that in an oral presentation, what you say is considerably less important than how you say it. He rejects the claim that content accounts for only 7 percent of the success of the presentation, while 93 percent of success is attributable to non-verbal factors, i.e. body language and vocal variety. The myth arises from a gross misinterpretation of a scientific experiment. It needs to be put to rest both for the benefit of presenters and the sake of scientific integrity.

Even if the 7% rules has been debunked, in some way I still think is an important aspect in today’s video communication. Even if it is “just” 50%.

Video includes other layers of communication beyond words, like the visuals (cinematography), pacing (editing and music) audio (sound design and music), graphic etc..

In today’s videography, especially on interviews, talking heads, docs, presentations (everywhere we have words) often this 50% is ignored. Especially when the goal is to build personality of someone or something, that extra 50% made of other aspects beyond words is fundamental.

I’m not talking only about “technical” video aspects, but also conceptual and artistic aspects, that I consider are the most powerful tools of expression especially for high profiled audience and subjects. Because the goal is not only to attract visually the audience (fundamental especially on social media), but also to make the viewers remember, understand and feel.

Here’s an example of an interview/doc video format called “Cinematic Portraits” I personally developed that I think perfectly represents the concept of the “7% rule” on today’s video communication.

Hope you like! 🙂



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