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Body Language in Business

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Body Language in Business

Decoding the Signals

Palgrave Macmillan,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Become fluent in nonverbal communication by understanding body language – your own and other people’s.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Body language and other forms of nonverbal behavior are the subtext of all communication. Becoming fluent as a receiver and a sender is a necessary business skill. Authors Adrian Furnham and Evgeniya Petrova set out to debunk popular myths about body language, particularly any promises that you can learn to “read people like a book.” They examine different aspects of body language, such as facial expression, gesture, touch and eye contact. They also explain ways that body language provides cues and, in some cases, can mislead. Lastly, they offer practical strategies to consider in using your body language as well as decoding others’ signals. Furnham and Petrova broaden their examination of nonverbal communication to include other subjects, including feng shui, public speaking and bullying. Body language enthusiasts seeking detail will find this all-encompassing analysis insightful. For the less committed, the book’s aerial view of so many facets of this subject might muddy the waters. However, getAbstract considers this an essential read for those wishing to sharpen their “soft” skills or raise their emotional intelligence.


What Is Nonverbal Communication?

A broad definition of nonverbal communication includes any kind of signal sent through the senses, as well as social statements made via dress, appearance or the possession of particular objects. Body language is nonverbal behavior that sends signals that communicate to the receiver, consciously or subconsciously. Body language can be subtle or overt, rehearsed and controlled, or spontaneous and physiologically revealing. It can be ideal for communicating and emphasizing a message.

Nonverbal behavior (NVB) serves to:

  • “Repeat, echo and emphasize what is being said.”
  • “Complement, modify and elaborate on verbal messages.”
  • “Contradict or confuse verbal messages to show ambivalence or cover up motives.”
  • “Substitute words.”
  • “Underline, accentuate, punctuate and moderate language.”
  • “Regulate and coordinate language.”

When people communicate verbally, they use the spoken or written word to convey messages. Visual cues include all NVB’s transmitted during face-to-face interactions, such as appearance, smell, age, dress and movement. Vocal cues can indicate the speaker’s emotional...

About the Authors

Adrian Furnham, a psychology professor at London’s University College, has written more than 60 books and 800 articles. He contributes to the Financial Times and the BBC. Psychologist, researcher, ballet dancer and scholar Evgeniya Petrova has won several Russian literature prizes.

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    T. H. 1 decade ago
    This abstract provides a powerful understanding of "Non-Verbal Communication". It's about far more than how you cross your legs, or avert your eyes. Its how you smell and dress etc.