Chapter 2. Nonverbal Communication

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

American expression


I hate the way he looks through me like I don't exist. He always shakes my hand like a wet fish! And every time he comes near me, that cologne! Yuck!"

You probably remember reading these thoughts from Jill in the introduction as she thinks about her colleague Richard. How many of the above references have to do with nonverbal perceptions? Nonverbal Communication, or NVC, is defined as the messages we send and receive from others without words, both on a conscious and subconscious level. In understanding that communication can be unintentional as well as intentional, and that unintentional communication is often derived from NVC, we see the large role Nonverbal Communication plays in the dynamics of how people relate to one another in the workplace. This second step in communication awareness is a large part of the lake we discussed in the last chapter.


The thoughts you express as words and emotions become your habits, which feed your nonverbal language-the manner in which you nonverbally express yourself.

We learn the nonverbal codes of a society much in the same way we learn language, as an integral part of our symbol system. Just as with language, we do not always acquire the most effective nonverbal habits. The messages come from the inside out and are reinforced by others around us, generally using the same set of agreed-upon symbol systems ...

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