Nonverbal Cues

A 1997 study by the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C., with Manchester Partners International, says that even in this tight job market, 40 percent of management hires fail, and the key reason for the turnover (82 percent) is their inability to build good relationships with peers and subordinates. --San Diego Union-Tribune (Anonymous 1998)

The subtlety of making impressions demands self-awareness . . . . --Mark H. McCormack (What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, 1984:27)

Relationship. A pleasant feeling of mutual trust, affinity, and friendship established through verbal and nonverbal means.

Usage: Rapport shows in a. reduced angular distance, b. direct body alignment, c. mutual eye contact, and d. palm-up cues; and in the e. eyebrow-flash, f. head-nod, g. laugh, h. shoulder-shrug, and i. zygomatic smile.

Business. "Don't exploit rapport; build it for future business" (Doreen K. Givens, N.D., personal communication).

Observation. We use many of the same childlike cues sent and received in courtship to establish rapport in business (e.g., to please customers, solicit clients, and woo colleagues; see LOVE SIGNAL).

Personal chemistry. "Personal chemistry helps people rise above their competition to be selected and hold jobs they're offered. The ability to work well with others is often the defining reason one person is selected over another" (Anonymous 1998:C-1).

Salesmanship. "Your nonverbal strategy . . . is not to mirror the prospect's stiff, closed posture but to lead him into more relaxed, open postures by your example" (Delmar 1984:43-4).

Word origin. Rapport derives from Old French ("to bring back") via Latin ("to carry"), from the 7,000 year-old Proto-Indo-European root, per-2, "fellow traveler" (Soukhanov 1993; see WALK). Nonverbally, traveling together motivates bonding through feelings of isopraxism.

RESEARCH REPORTS: 1. "We can observe how in human beings conversation is practiced as a bond-forming ritual. In such conversations hardly any factual information is passed on, as they consist largely of extremely banal, constantly repeated statements concerning such matters as the weather" (Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1971:151). 2. "Salesmen may court prospects over lunch, using the full range of seductive units to solicit a warm social bond which may be exploited economically. . ." (Givens 1978A:358). 3. "More smiling, facial pleasantness, head nods, frequent and open gestures, and eyebrow raises have the same effects as more gaze: They accompany a desire for intimacy. . ." (Burgoon et al. 1989:322).


Copyright 1998 - 2016 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)
Drawing of "Showing My Nonverbal Side" by my son Aaron Huffman (copyright 2012 by Aaron Huffman)