Nonverbal Communication

Published December 28, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair


Most forms of communication do not rely on language. In fact recent studies suggest that 93 percent of communication is transmitted non-verbally (Anderson, 2008). Nonverbal communication (NVC) is also referred to as body language. It encompasses almost all communication except the written or spoken word. This exchange of messages occurs in all modalities derived through nonverbal behaviors and includes more than just body language. For instance NVC can be transmitted by the distance in which people stand; the nervous energy and sweaty palms of an individual, or in the design of a room.  A thorough understanding of the role that body language plays in our business activities is vital. Yet most executives, managers and sales representatives don’t read clear signals of others and are usually unaware how their own nonverbal communication can sabotage their efforts (Baack, 2012). Effective communication skills are the key to interpersonal and company success.


One example of nonverbal feedback can clearly be witnessed in fast food franchises. They are often decorated in bright colors like yellow, orange and red. These establishments are always well lit and include plastic seating. This form of NVC urges diners to eat their meals more quickly.  Another example of NVC occurs at  casinos. The gaming area and guest rooms create an environment that encourages energy and excitement which include (a) attractive dealers and cocktail servers, (b) bright colored rooms, (c) special lighting, and (d) fabric textures that stand out (Anderson, 2008). Rumor has it that some establishments pump oxygen into the rooms to keep guests awake so they will return to the game rooms. This is a strategy airline pilots incorporate to keep awake in the cockpit on long international flights. Anyone working in a field that involves contact with people will likely have more success by understanding the subtle world of nonverbal communication.



Anderson, P. (2008). Nonverbal communication: Forms and functions (2nd  ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Goman, C. (2008). The nonverbal advantage: secrets and science of body language at work. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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