Summary And Evaluation of Joe Navarro?s Louder Than Words

August 29, 2011

Summary And Review of Joe Navarros Louder Than Words

Executive Summary

Louder than Words, is an excellent source for helping you understand what your boss and coworkers might really be thinking. Navarro starts off by talking about the nonverbals of listening. There are two essential factors in understanding the audience, empathy and being an active listener. A manager who listen empathetically and actively to an employee who is having personal or work issues can enhance the employees loyalty by simply listening to what they have to say, regardless if they can help the situation or not. Use words that the person you are speaking with is using, this is called verbal mirroring. By using others words, it shows that you are listening and the person you are communicating with feels that you have given them all your attention; therefore, feels that you understand what they are trying to say. The comfort/discomfort paradigm helps us understand the language of the people around us. When we observe someone we ask ourselves “Does it represent comfort of discomfort?” Once we anchor behaviors this way the behavior of others becomes more transparent. The next part of the book talks about how the body talks. The face can sometimes be the last place to look when trying to read someone’s body language, since we are taught as children to control our facial expressions. Watch for things such as jiggling legs and feet, “pointing” feet, crossed legs and shrugs and splays, hand movements and the eyes. Each of these positions and body languages has their own meaning to what the person is feeling.  Your own body language is also just as important.  A smile can move mountains and yet people sometimes fail to make this gesture. Also, by your posture one can observe a lot about you and how you are feeling. Things like slouching and slumped shoulders give off the vibe that you do not care and people did not want to ensure trust in you. Things like shoulders’ back and standing tall say things like “I am alert and ready for anything.” This book will jump start your career as you discover so many things about reading body language, so you can discover what clients, interviewers and you bosses are saying, learn how to make a great first impression and what habits send out wrong messages, become culturally aware and gender-sensitive, and learn the difference between average and exception. This book has taught me things that I had no idea about and has made me more aware of the things I do in my everyday life, such as my posture. It is an excellent source of information, especially to younger people like myself, with not much experience in the working world and are about to embark into the professional world.

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know fromLouder than Words

1.            There are many nonverbal assumptions that could be based off of our appearance. Our focus on appearances may not be fair, but it is human, and if you want to become a nonverbal master you must attend to appearances-yours and others’.

2.            By looking at someone’s body language you are able to tell whether the person is displaying comfort or discomfort. Some signs of comfort are calmness, confidence, enjoyment happiness and touching. Signs of discomfort include anxiety, distancing, speech errors and withdrawal. 

3.            Emphasis in nonverbal punctuation: it is our body’s way of making an exclamation point. When people point their finger at someone or wave their hands in frustration, or throw your hands up in excitement after a victory we are making an exclamation though our body’s emphatic nonverbal gestures.

4.            When trying to figure out what someone is thinking or feeling the face is usually the last place to look. The feet are actually a very honest place to look. They tell when a person is feeling confident, flirtatious, happy, nervous or threatened.

5.            Your behavior can communicate a great deal about your attitude, work ethic, feelings and intentions. It is not enough to tell someone they can trust you or that you are a hard worker, it must be proven through your actions and attitudes so that it can physically be seen. 

6.            It may seem kind of crazy to hear, but there are nonverbals of the voice. Research has shown that when we do not like someone’s voice we have a tendency tune them out or ignore them entirely. An unpleasant voice can alienate and leave a bad impression. 

7.            Your attire is a reflection of yourself, as well as an advertisement. Dressing for the setting shows respect for your clients, your colleagues and your profession.  People are more willing to follow your lead if you are dressed well.

8.            To see how your business is perceived you can do things like call your company switchboard, call the customer service number, ask a friend to go into your workplace and ask to set up a meeting, order and item off your company’s website and see how quickly it gets there.

9.            Companies spend a large amount of money to create sophisticated web sites, but if their customers can not access the site within a few seconds or it does not respond to buyer preference, the companies are spending all this money on the site only to lose money.

10.            Make sure to find time for humor and fun in the work place. This acts as a means of relief from all the negative stressors in your life. If you cannot find humor in what you do, your job may eventually become miserable.

Full Summary of Louder than Words

“Influence at your Fingertips”

Nonverbal gestures come in many different ways, from as simple as a head tilt to where we point our feet during a conversation and everything else in between. There are misconceptions about different body languages and what they mean, and how each different gesture, we or others do, “speaks” to us in different ways. The nonverbals of listening are to be an active listener and empathy.  When you think about some who you can really talk to and confide in it is probably because they are a empathetically. Doctors, stock brokers and other professionals must be sure to use epithetical listening when trying to communicate with their clients. By doing this they keep a solid relationship with the client and the client feels important to the professional.  Along with active listening come something called verbal mirroring. Verbal mirroring is when the listener uses the words of the person they are speaking to. For example if someone says they are scared about something do not reply using words like concerned or worried, they said scared so repeat the word scared.  When you use the words that the speaker is using you are showing that you are giving them your full attention, the listener then feels more comfortable and will become more responsive in the conversation. Mainly, listen to the words of the people you are speaking with and use them to your advantage. Next, this chapter discusses the correlation between good manners and good nonverbals.  Basically, people notice and form opinions of you based on behavior. Neatness in appearance, punctuality, and hard work are some of the nonverbals that make for a great first impression.

“The Comfort/Discomfort Paradigm: the Foundation of Nonverbal Intelligence”

The author developed this paradigm after doing much research and reading hundreds of books. The concept of this is very simple, one you observe someone’s behavior you ask yourself “Does it represent comfort or discomfort” and this question should be relatively easy to answer. The author began to teach nonverbal this way and realized that once you look at behaviors in this way, behaviors can become much more transparent. He found that our actions to the world around us are actually very binary. To further validate the paradigm the author out together a list of words to describe comfort versus discomfort. Signs of comfort include: calmness, confidence, clear thinking, closeness, fluid speech, openness, touching, joy, patience, receptiveness, respect, security, trust and poise.  Signs of discomfort are: coldness, hesitation, lies, doubt, tension, fear, impatience, anger, distancing, anxiety, sternness and nervousness.  This list provides us with some insight into how some of our behaviors, attitudes, and emotions fall into the two categories of comfort and discomfort. This is helpful in the business world and all aspects of life. We can read other peoples gestures and languages and determine whether the situation is comfortable or discomfort and in the business world comfort is key. As long as there is comfort in the work place the communication becomes more effective and the daily business of the office can run more smoothly.

“How the Body Talks”

This chapter discusses how each part of the body is used to communicate nonverbally. Once you are able to read someone’s body language the random movements of coworkers, friends, neighbors and anyone else becomes seen in a different way. When people are feeling good, their gestures tend to point up, literally, their nonverbal move skyward. Peoples chin, nose, thumbs and even eyebrows all go up. Intention cues are body gestures that people send off before they verbalize what it is they actually want. For example, if you are having a conversation with your boss and he turns his torso away or points his foot away from the conversation, it is his body language telling you that he needs to go or is not interested in the conversation. When looking at the body for nonverbal signs or gestures the face is usually the last place to look since we are taught as children to control our facial expression. The feet, on the other hand, are an excellent way to ready someone’s body language. When the foot or the leg is jiggling and the torso is still in someone who has been still shows some discomfort, either impatience or the need to move. On the other hand jiggling feet can also be something good, “happy feet,” such as dancing or jumping around. Once jiggling becomes kicking it is signifying a negative reaction to whatever is going on, while repetition motions can become soothing to people. The position of the feet is also something to look for, while if the person you are talking to begins to shift their body and point their toe away from you they are signaling that they are uncomfortable and want to leave the conversation. When someone crosses their legs it is signifying comfort and relaxation. We use our torso to lean into a conversation when we feel comfortable and are enjoying the conversation and lean back when there is discomfort. When people have their hands withdrawn it is usually signifying they want distance, it gives off the message “Don’t get to close” or “Don’t touch me.” The tilting of the head only happens when someone feels very comfortable, because the neck and head are very vulnerable body parts. Our eyes are a very good body part to notice, when someone is uncomfortable they tend to blink, squint or rub their eyes frequently, but when a person is comfortable with the conversation they will maintain eye contact with the person they are speaking too. Once a person starts to practice their own skills in nonverbal observation, they start to see more and more examples of how the body interacts in real life.

“The Power of your Behavior”

The nonverbals of success start with your state of mind. You must want to change how others view you or how you view yourself in order for a change to happen.  A smile is a great thing and can send out goodwill but for some reason people sometimes fail on making this gesture. Greeting people with a smile is the best way to greet someone. There are different forms of smiles, there is the public smile with closed lips, the polite smile where we show our teeth, then there is the true smile we offer to those that we love. Once you realize the importance of the smile you may start to use it more often. Your posture and stance can be observed from a great distance and can give off many different vibes. How you stand can help to dominate or disseminate a situation. When someone is standing with their shoulders slumped or is slouching, or swaying from side to side it can give off the feeling that they are uncomfortable or do not care about the conversation being had. How effectively and smoothly we move makes a big difference in how we are perceived by others. Our movements can have a powerful effect on others. The power of movement can change the whole dynamic of a meeting or conversation. People keep respect for people who keep their composure in situations that get heated or cause discomfort. As backwards as it may sound, there are nonverbal of the voice. New casters, interviewers or anyone who will be making a speech all try to deepen their voice and speak with a certain tone and flow. It is always obvious when someone is uncomfortable making a speech; their voice starts to shake and becomes higher pitched. Research has proven that the audience tends to tune out or ignore the speaker if they do not like the sound of their voice. Pauses and silences are powerful; they express things like confidence and deliberation. Speech hesitations are not the same as pauses, things like “um” and “ah” or constant throat clearing are signs that show nervousness and lack confidence. Once the audience sees the nervousness or lack of confidence in the speaker, they begin to tune out the speaker and the speaker lacks certain credibility in the speech. Our habits can communicate a lot about us as individuals. Keep in mind that everything you do at work will be noted by other colleagues and will most likely be talked about. Things like being late for work, leaving early, not finishing assignments or never volunteering could potentially become your downfall. Only you can control how you are perceived by other people and how you are treated will be a result of your actions. The choice on how you act and are perceived is up to you, and it will embrace everything from your attitude to your appearance.

“The Power of how you look”

Two researchers decided to do research and see just how significant looks and appearance really are. They found that people who are considered good looking tend to be hired more frequently, get raises faster, and on average earn about 10 to 15 percent more than their colleagues. By keeping good hygiene and grooming yourself can and will make a difference. People have a choice to dress for themselves or others, in the world we live in people will appraise you according to how you look. You image is nonverbal, but can say many different things about yourself. When you dress for the occasion it shows respect for you colleagues and profession. How important is dressing well? Researchers found that if someone is dressed well and drop something it will be returned to them 83 percent of the time, while someone who is not dressed nice and drops their wallet it is only returned to them 48 percent of the time. People tend to be more willing to follow your lead when you are dressed nicely. Casualness can hurt your credibility and give off a more relaxed attitude. How you are dressed shows people the respect you have for yourself. When you dress nicely and take care of yourself you are showing people you are professional and care about how others view you. The way that you are dressed when you meet someone for the first time can make or break their opinion of you, and first impressions are very important.

“Managing how your Organization is Perceived”

The comfort dividend is something that takes you from good to exceptional. Try to view your business from the eyes of a prospective client, this may show some problems that were unknown to the staff. Call your company switchboard and see things like how long does it take before your call is answered, what is said in the greeting and how well is the tone of voice, how long and often were you put on hold and were you treated with respect. Call your company’s customer service number and see how well your requested information is provided. Order and item from your company and see how quickly the site loaded, how easy it was to find what you are looking for, and if you were able to complete the order without any annoyances or interruptions. Ask a friend to go into your business and see how properly they were greeted, and what their first impression was when walking in the door. Finally walk through your own workplace and observe: does it look orderly, do the walls, carpets and furniture look new not dingy, how is the energy level of the office, do people greet each other with eye contact, how clean are the bathrooms and break rooms, is the overall effect of the place appealing, see what you like best about the office and what you like least about the office, and would you want to work here twenty years from now. The first impression a client has of the office is very important, a person is not going to want to do business with a company that has a dirty or cluttered front office, it will give off the impression that they handle their clients in the same lazy manner that the office is handled. Make sure that the receptionist is always dressed properly and has a welcoming attitude since they are the first person that client will come in contact with. The importance off the greetings can never be overestimated

“Best practices for best Results”

While for some giving a presentation is easy, others do not see it that way. Practicing your speech or presentation is the best way to prepare for it. There are some nonverbal things that you can do to make sure you give the audience the best presentation, first prepare and rehearse. You can never rehearse to many times, it will only help you become more comfortable with your information. Find a speaker that you like and mirror what he/she does. Get to the event early so that you can meet some of the audience members and begin to relax. Set up you equipment early to make sure that everything is working properly. If you are nervous it is not a bad thing to let your audience know in advance. Be sure to use the stage to move around and not hide behind the lectern. Use your hands and gesture frequently. Point to the screen with your hands and not with a laser beam. Speak with a deeper voice, and if you are nervous try to not let your voice become high pitched. Finally leave your audience wanting to hear more, do not exhaust your subject with your audience. There are also ways to make sure that your nonverbal maximize our chances of making a positive impression. First you need to prepare to succeed. Always anticipate what kind of questions will be ask so that you are prepared to give sophisticated answers. Be sure to look the part. A smile sells you so do not forget to always smile. Except that you will be nervous and try to find ways to deal with it. It is normal to feel nervous, it just needs to be kept under control.

“Emotional Nonverbals”

As much as we would like to think that the office is all professional, we are only human and that is not always the case. Emotions always tend to operate in the workplace. There are many things that cause tension or emotional stress inside the workplace, things from disagreements between coworkers to angry customers. The important thing is how these issues are dealt with. Coworkers may need to take steps away from each other for time to cool down before the situation escalates. Dealingwith angry customers is a stressful and difficult task to do. Managers have to listen to the customer and let them vent about their problem then apologize and try to fix the situation to keep the customer happy. Workers need to make sure that there is an equal balance of fun and humor in the workplace as well. Humor needs to be a way for employees to escape from the stress of everyday life and jobs and release that stress trough fun and humor. If no fun or humor is had in the work place, the job could eventually become a miserable place for the employees to be at ultimately creating more stress.

The Video Lounge

This video goes along with what my book is talking about. The lady in this video is a body language expert and explains what people are thinking and feeling by certain gestures that they do.

Personal Insights

Why I think:

With business conditions today, what the author wrote is – or is no longer true – because:

I believe what the author wrote about is still very much true in today’s world.  He explains not only how to read other peoples body language and try to figure out what they are feeling, but also gives information on how to conduct your own body language so that you do not give off the wrong message.  He also gives information about how to act on job interviews and how to dress for the interviews and everyday office wear. This is a concept that I feel can never not be true due to the fact that we will always have to work with others and be in constant communication with colleagues.  People will always have to work and go on job interviews, so I feel that this topic will always be important in helping people in the professional world.

Then, all of the following bullet-items are mandatory to write about:

If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:

1.            I feel that the comfort/discomfort paradigm could have been explained a little bit better. The first time I read about it I was left somewhat confused.

2.            The first chapter and topic starts off a tad slow. It seems like the book is going to be boring form the first section, but then it gets interesting. I would have made the opening chapter a bit more exciting to get the attention of the reader earlier.

3.            If I were the author of the book I would not have told so many personal stories and stories about the FBI. I would stick to the information I was trying to relay to the audience. Sometimes the stories become too much information.

Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:

1.            I did not understand the importance of a strong voice, and how an “annoying,” high pitched voice can lose the attention of the audience altogether.

2.            I know have a much greater respect for companies with excellent Web sites. I did not realize that if people did not find what they want in 7 seconds they leave the site. The people that put together great, successful site work extremely hard.

3.            I do not think I fully understood how important your body language really is and how we can be setting off bad signs and not even realize it. I am not much more aware of the things I do and even how I stand.

I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:

1.            After reading this book I feel more prepared for going on a job interview. I know the correct body language to use and how important the first impression is, eye contact is key.

2.            I will definitely make sure to have humor and fun in my work place. Not just by jokes or pranks but just being able to laugh at things, otherwise the work environment could become miserable. It is also a stress reliever from all the negative things going on.

3.            I will also make sure to always look professional while working. We are all human, so we judge people on appearance and those that look professional and neatly put together make the best impression and gain the most respect.

Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:

“Joe Navarro spent his professional life studying nonverbal language and testing those insights in high-stakes environments. We are fortunate that he is willing to share those insights in this marvelous book. It is a must read for anyone is business and anyone not in business.” –Brian J. Hall, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“I love this book for a quite a few reasons but to start with it starts out and sets up the explanation that everything counts, all of you interactions, your clothing, your attention to detail or lack of, and your interpersonal communications skills. In a noisy world with many choices some of yours are made without really understanding why, that also goes for your clients. I read just about every book that comes out on body language and this one is great and not just a rehash of the last one that came out a few months or years ago.” –customer review

The reviews for this book are all the same. People have nothing to say but positive things about it. They feel it is a must read and extremely helpful in all aspects.  It really explains all you need to know about body language and how to read your own and others.


Bell, Scott S. (2010, March). Customer review. Retrieved from

Hall, Brian J. Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School.


Contact Info: To contact the author of this “Summary and Review of Louder than Words,” please email


David C. Wyld ( is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at He also serves as the Director of the Reverse Auction Research Center (, a hub of research and news in the expanding world of competitive bidding. Dr. Wyld also maintains compilations of works he has helped his students to turn into editorially-reviewed publications at the following sites:

Management Concepts (

Book Reviews ( and

Travel and International Foods (                


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