Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The problems with video conferencing

Phil Smith believes that video conferencing will never work. In a letter to the editors of NewScientist magazine, dated 03 December 2008, he gives his reason: "We know that non-verbal communication is the majority of any communication in the flesh." Now Smith may be correct about the need for business partners to meet in the flesh. I really don't know. But he's certainly wrong about the importance of non-verbal communication in most situations.

Smith's misconception is likely based on research published by Albert Mehrabian in the 1950s. He found that messages about attitude are conveyed in the following proportions: Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking

On his website, Mehrabian says, "Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable."

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