I Hear What You Say, but What Are You Telling Me? The Strategic Use of Nonverbal Communication in Mediation

I Hear What You Say, but What Are You Telling Me? The Strategic Use of Nonverbal Communication in Mediation

I Hear What You Say, but What Are You Telling Me? The Strategic Use of Nonverbal Communication in Mediation

I Hear What You Say, but What Are You Telling Me? The Strategic Use of Nonverbal Communication in Mediation

Synopsis

I Hear What You Say, But What Are You Telling Me? is a fascinating, original, and invaluable tool kit filled with practical information and techniques for mediators who want to use nonverbal communication to their strategic advantage. Employing a proven process, Barbara Madonik--communication expert, mediator, and international consultant--reveals what it takes to understand, analyze, and utilize nonverbal communication to greatly enhance the mediation process.

Excerpt

When I first started working with attorneys, I met a trial lawyer who fancied herself an expert at reading nonverbal communication. After we had chatted for five minutes she suddenly said, “I know why you are wearing those glasses. They are generally fashionable but understated. You've also picked them because they have a slightly horn-rimmed look that gives you an educated appearance.” This was an interesting fantasy. I was wearing them because I earned very little money in those days. The frames had come free with the lenses.

Such unfounded interpretation of nonverbal communication serves only to create great fictions in some people's minds. In fact, the accurate interpretation of nonverbal communication requires recognizing specific, repeated patterns.

Communication Realities

To begin to understand these patterns and the strategic uses of nonverbal communication, it is first important to appreciate some communication realities.

Attention Limits

Our conscious awareness is limited to being cognizant of approximately seven things concurrently. Many people learning of this limitation think that it applies to remembering sets of things, names or dates perhaps. But it has much broader applications. A seminar participant, for example, once asked me whether car accidents might result from this limitation. She was curious about people who said they “didn't notice the other car, ” and she wondered whether the other car might sometimes be the “eighth piece of information” for a driver. In fact many car accidents are a result . . .

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