What Qualifies as 
Nonverbal Communication
In Business?

Appearance speaks louder than words. 

Nonverbal communication in business is both complex and intriguing. You should never underestimate the importance of its effect. All politicians, leaders of state as well as celebrities attend special training to increase their awareness of the messages they give out, non-verbally. 

Facial expressions, gestures, posture, appearance – they all are important in reinforcing what is being spoken. 

Recently, in a car booth sale, I bought two books and I would like to share with you, some of their content on the signals in your appearance that are expressions of nonverbal communication in business. The books were:

1. The Corporate Infighters Handbook from 1984 by William Davis

2. The Rules of Work from 2003 by Richard Templar. This is an international bestseller.

The interesting point is, that although there are nearly 20 years between both books, the advice given on nonverbal communication in business hasn’t changed all that much. Certainly now in the 20-10’s, business life tends to become more flexible (no-one sees what jeans you have on at a netmeeting) as far as appearance goes, but much stays the same. 

Here is my Infographic on the topic of The Perfect Manager's Appearance. 

Click on the picture to see an Enlarged Version.

Nonverbal Communication in Business

 Check here for the PDF File. 

Advice from "Rules of Work" on Nonverbal communication in business

In the Rules of Work, there is a chapter dedicated to

“Know that you are being judged all the time”.

A wonderful set of descriptions on Nonverbal Communication in Business. He declares the rules of success include:

  • To dress well. 
  • To cultivate a smile: Smile no matter what. Smile when you greet your colleagues in the morning. Smile when it’s getting tough. Smile when it’s hell. And practise that smile in front of a mirror. 
  • Not to be a limp fish – develop the perfect handshake. When someone shakes their hand with you, they should be left with the impression of strength, confidence and power - and of someone totally in control of themselves. How do you make it better? Make it firm but don’t overdo it and crush people’s fingers. Practise your handshake!
  • To exude confidence and energy. When you arrive to work in the morning, there should be a spring in your step. Let others crawl in looking hung over or freshly turfed out of bed. You arrive fresh and energetic. Walk quicker rather than slower, quick means keen, means energy, means awake and lively – and ready for challenges. Be bright, fresh, alive and enthusiastic!
  • To develop a style that gets you noticed. Develop your brand. Wear style. Dress up, not down. “Think Cary Grant rather than Boy George. Think Lauren Bacall rather than Madonna”.
  • To pay attention to personal grooming. See our infographic below. 
  • To be attractive. Everything about you should be open, happy and confident, your grooming, your dress sense, your suave style. Your whole demeanour must be splendid and outstanding. Do not slouch, slump or be scruffy. 
  • And be cool. No sweaty hands. No chunky jumpers, No lack of deodorant, Don’t wear a red nose on red nose day. Don’t dress up in fancy dress, no matter what. Don’t make a fool of yourself at Christmas parties. Keep your composure and your cool.

Advice from "Corporate Infighters Guide"

In the Corporate Infighters Guide, he gives us the following advice on nonverbal communication in business: 

Advice on Weight

  1. Men who look like nature’s toothpicks make others feel guilty.
  2. People who focus too much on weight loss are usually poor company as dieting tends to make people miserable and bad-tempered.
  3. Be careful of being thought of as a slob when you are overweight: Don’t advertise that bulging tummy by wearing too tight clothes.
  4. As fat men generally feel more at ease in the presence of fatties, this might make them more inclined to promote them. 
  5. Don’t worry about being overweight, it might be a blessing

Advice on Attachè Cases

The Perfect Attachè

- Available on Amazon- 

Just click the picture and it is almost yours! 

Some modern Attachè cases or Briefcases come with built-in or included Gadgets:

  1. A secret connection lined with bullet-proof fabric.
  2. In-built miniature voice stress analyzers to let you know if someone is lying.
  3. A pocket recorder that can pick up conversations up to 25m away.
  4. High-powered walkie-talkies with built-in scramblers.
  5. A bomb sniffer.
  6. A pocket “Nite Vision Scope” to enable you to see in total darkness. 

Now, while you might not need these yourself, it’s always good to know they exist as the other person might have them!

Advice on Hair

  1. Long Hair may be sexy but it might be regarded as extremist – an “unwelcome advocate of unconventional ideas”.
  2. Mutton-chop whiskers look ridiculous and long sideburns, effeminate. No handlebar mustaches or thin pencil stripes as they can appear unsightly. 
  3. Crew cuts are acceptable. Opt for a smart, well-trimmed, inconspicuous executive look. Don’t form a habit of combing your hair in the middle of meetings. 
  4. While grey hair looks distinguished, it can be seen as a sign that it is time you retired. 
  5. Wigs and Toupees can be a problem once people find out about them. You could become the office joke. 

Advice on Glasses

Many executives hate wearing glasses, but nothing is worse that someone peering short-sightedly at important documents – or worse, ignoring important people you might meet in the corridors. 

Glasses can be a useful asset. They make you look more serious and respectable. They make young executives appear older. 

A common ploy is to take them off, wipe them carefully while one considers what to say, and then wave them at the man who has asked the awkward question while giving one’s answer.


  • A monocle is absurd
  • Cheap wire frames are for impoverished junior clerks
  • Dark tinted glasses are for the Mafioso
  • Men with swarthy complexions should choose light frames to make them less sinister. 
  • As you get older, you may wish to use contact lenses. Many political leaders do so. 

And Lastly.....Pullovers

Pullovers are an absolute no-no, especially hand-knitted garments. These are simply working class. 

Pullovers may be replaced with expensive-looking cardigans, preferably navy-blue in colour.


I really did enjoy putting these together. Yes, all the advice on nonverbal communication in business that I have added - is with a little tongue in cheek. That is, if I am allowed to do that? Hmm!

But, one thing is for sure, while they may appear outdated, the points mentioned still have a lot of validity in today’s working environment. So, whether we agree with these aspects of nonverbal communication in business or not, they are really well worth noting! Maybe even taking some of them on board?

Best Wishes


Do You Know The Types of Nonverbal Communication?
~ Click on this Picture ~ 

Types of Nonverbal Communication

The Books we refer to in the above article are: 



Unfortunately Amazon have no Picture of this book as it is probably so old, but you can order it, if you are interested, via this link: 

Corporate Infighter's Handbook

Further Pages on Communication

Nonverbal Communication in Business