Power of Nonverbal Communication

A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “The Power of Nonverbal Communication” provided some helpful insights from Dr. Alex Pentland’s studies of sociometer data that can be useful to almost anyone that communicates with others on a daily basis.

Dr. Pentland’s new book, “Honest Signals”, focuses on four nonverbal ways people communicate:

  1. Activity– when you get excited about something your interest is higher you display more nervous energy.
  2. Interest– the timing of  filling in the gaps and pauses of a conversation  attest to the attention being provided by each party.
  3. Mimicry– a mirroring of gestures indicates trust and empathy.
  4. Consistency– fluency in tone or motion hard to fake.

The article indicates a study done on midcareer executives presenting real business plans in a competition, resulted in tone of voice and how the plan was presented.  “….they were listening to how excited the presenter was about the plan; they were not listening to the facts.” 

Dr. Pentland went on to comment that, “In organizations, most of the communication that’s complicated, that’s really important, still happens face-to-face.”

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