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Ronald E. Riggio

In: The SAGE Handbook of Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 5: Nonverbal Skills and Abilities

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Nonverbal Skills and Abilities
Nonverbal skills and abilities

The practice of nonverbal communication relies on a range of innate and developed foundational processes. One foundation underlying the use of nonverbal communication focuses on individual differences in the abilities to communicate nonverbally. This ability, or skill, approach is akin to a personality perspective in that it focuses on individual differences in the sending (encoding), receiving (decoding), and regulation (management) of nonverbal communication (for more on personality, see Gifford, this volume). In other words, people vary in their abilities to convey nonverbal messages to others accurately, “read” others' nonverbal communications, and monitor and control their nonverbal displays.

The skill approach to nonverbal communication was advanced in a 1979 book edited by Robert Rosenthal, Skill in Nonverbal Communication: Individual Differences, ...

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