For this project I researched several sites online dealing
with nonverbal communication workplace interactions. The site I found a wealth
of information on the subject was the Center for Nonverbal Studies. Many of the articles were written by Marco
Pacori, a communications consultant.
Several articles were written in Italian, wishing I knew how to read
that language; however, many were republished in English.
Before diving in
on this project, I thought I had a good, solid grasp of effective nonverbal
communication as it relates to the workplace environment. After this research, however, I know I have
expanded my knowledge base. For
instance, foot reflexology was interesting to me. I have often observed this trait in some
people but never realized its full importance in applying it to the workplace.
The way we place our feet on the ground gives powerful clues as to our ability and
stability to face facts, very important when you are taking orders from your
boss or superior. When standing, it is a
signal of apprehension when you place much of your weight on one shoe or
foot. And while sitting, no matter how
confidant you try to look, lifting the heel of your shoe can signal your intent
on wanting to go away, again, not a good thing to do when you are sitting in
front of your boss. Beating your feet
against the floor, even if it is only a slight response, can signal that you
Another area of
interest was in hand gestures. I read an article by researchers at ColumbiaUniversity, Robert Kraus and Ezequil
Morsella. These researchers have found
that in order to make a fluent speech, the ability to have a rapid response and
to be able to speak in a colorful way are all linked to the amount of gestures
you make while talking. They have found
that gestures are a part of speech. The
more gestures a person uses while speaking, usually signals a better, more
effective speaker. Now this I found
intriguing because I used to work with a person who was my upper manager. I was around him on a daily basis and both
our jobs required almost a constant open line of communication between us. His parents were from Hungary and I
am sure he learned much of his customs and culture from his parents. He never smiled. He used very few gestures while talking,
mostly looking stern and expressionless. He often appeared to have a frown on
his face. Needless to say, I had a very
difficult time communicating with him. I was sort of his opposite. I try to maintain a positive attitude on my
face, which means I smile once in awhile.
Not a big, fake type of smile but a soft, warm, slight smile. I feel
that to smile signals a feeling of warmth and happiness, generally a good,
positive expression, while carrying a frown signals unhappiness and a
disinterest in what you are doing. We had conflicts almost from the
beginning. I often thought he was
disapproving of my work because he always frowned, even while talking to
me. He thought I was always up to
something when he would notice a smile on my face. I once asked him why he didn't smile and was
very shocked at what he said. He was
taught that to smile meant that you were hiding something, that you were up to
something no good. This explained his
suspicious gazes at me in the workplace.
He always thought I was up to something.
I told him that in our culture, carrying a frown means you are unhappy,
unmotivated, and uninterested in what you are doing. He assured me he wasn't. But nonetheless, we
had an obvious difference in communication style that led to a breakdown in our
line of communications.