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Nonverbal communication

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

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 are impatient.

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.



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