Chapter 3Nonverbal Communication

Learning objectives

  • Use nonverbal communication effectively in the workplace.
  • Differentiate types of nonverbal communication.
  • Apply nonverbal competence.

Accountants and nonverbal communication

In an amused tone in their 2018 book, The Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly, Ian Gow and Stuart Kells poke fun at some stereotypes of the appearance of accountants. The accountant image once was very specific, including “brown briefcase, wing-tip shoes, white shirt, three piece suit …. beards still frowned upon….” (see chapter 7). Contrast the unwritten rule among accountants against facial hair with the appearance of millionaires, such as Andrew Mellon, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s, when beards were standard issue for business leaders.

Nonverbal communication in business, even the unwritten codes, is easy to spot when you are looking for it. Moreover, dress and appearance codes in business change over time, just as they do in society. For example, recent court cases and news articles cover various aspects of nonverbal communication in the workplace, including natural hair styles and wearing hijab.

Use nonverbal communication effectively in the workplace

A client parks in front of your accounting firm. What is their first impression? What does the client see initially, in terms of your parking area, building, signs, and grounds? Realtors understand the importance of maximum ...

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