21The Eight Ounces of Prevention in Phone Communication

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When you talk on the phone, you’re cut off from the visual clues (the 55 percent) that would help you to make sense of what you’re hearing.

On the phone, communication comes across in how a person sounds, the 38 percent, and what they say, the 7 percent. What happens to the 55 percent? When the visual elements of face-to-face interaction are removed, people often make up their own mental images. Let’s say you’re on the phone with someone you’ve never met. The voice you hear may remind you of someone else or some other time in your personal history. Or you may associate the tone, speed, and ...

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