Q: How does nonverbal communication fit into the workplace? Is there a way to understand what people say with their bodies at work? A: The body is...

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Q:
How does nonverbal communication fit into the workplace?

Is there a way to understand what people say with their bodies at work?

A:
The body is a powerful communication channel that is mostly ignored or dimly noticed at work.

And that happens despite studies that have shown that body language carries 55 percent of the meaning during communication.

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Being able to understand body language is more complicated than getting a guide that says if a boss scratches their nose, they’re lying.

Most body language is unique to the person using it.

Pay attention to what your body and others’ bodies do when you’re in boring situations (i.e. meetings).

Experiment with imitating different postures or gestures you see people use.

How do you feel when you pound your fist, drape your arms over the chair or sit with your legs and arms crossed.

Notice your feelings when you use these positions and you’ll have good information about what’s going on for others.

Make sure you’re breathing deeply when you’re trying to notice nonverbal behavior.

Unless you’re conscious of your own body, it will be tough to read anyone else’s body.

If you see a repeated gesture by a co-worker, ask the person about it.

What does it mean when he looks at his watch, taps his foot or leans away?

After a while, you’ll develop a working physical vocabulary about the people around you.

One of the most important points about using body language is to realize that the body never lies.

If you’re getting one message verbally and another from a person’s physical gestures — trust the body language.

The last word(s)

Q:
I just got a new job and now have another offer at double my current salary. Would it be wrong to take the job?

A:
Ask yourself if your company would consider it wrong to let you go if it was in their best interests? Then take the job.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube