CHAPTER 5Unifying Your Verbal and Nonverbal Messages

“I told you I love you,” he says, his face buried in the newspaper and his voice absolutely flat. This is what is known as a mixed message, and you don’t know what to believe. You probably want to believe the words—the content of the message—but somehow it is just not ringing true.

People read each other in rather complex ways, and we use more than just words to figure out meaning. As it happens, what somebody says—the actual words—carries only a small component of the emotional information, while tone of voice accounts for much more of the impact. But the nonverbal parts, the physical part of facial expression and body language, are registered even more powerfully and can take command of the ...

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