Nonverbal communication of anti-gay protestors.

The Gay Pride Parade wound its way through the streets of Chicago in stifling July heat.

A dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church stood in front of a 7-Eleven convenience store with bullhorns and picket signs.

NOTE:  If you aren’t familiar with Westboro Baptist, they got famous protesting gay rights at the funerals of soldiers killed in war. (They have been denounced by just about every Christian denomination including all the major Baptist groups.)

The protestors shouted horrible things at the people in the parade.

But you didn’t need to hear them to see their bias.

The protestors held huge vinyl signs proclaiming God’s hatred of the people in the parade. (My “favorite” declared who was going to hell but spelled “sodomite” wrong because apparently, they don’t have spellcheck.)

But you didn’t need to read the signs to see their bias.

Their bias, hatred and condemnation were all apparent on their faces.

They smirked. 

They sneered. 

Their nostrils flared with contempt. 

Half avoided eye contact and the other half glared menacingly. 

Bias is Nonverbal

According to research, most bias is communicated nonverbally.

Sure, people sometimes say some horrible things.

More often, though, people accidentally communicate their bias nonverbally. According to the research:

  • White Americans stand further away from black people than other white people.
  • People who are prejudiced against overweight individuals sit further away from them than people without bias.
  • People avoid eye contact when racially prejudiced against someone.

What does this mean for you?

YOU communicate YOUR bias nonverbally.

If you are sick and tired of loud teenagers, you will communicate that to them nonverbally.

If you are fed up with homeless patrons, you will communicate that to them nonverbally.

If you feel awkward around elderly individuals, you will communicate that to them nonverbally.

If you want to get good at conflict de-escalation, you MUST learn to manage your nonverbal communication.

Want to learn more about this?  Our next live training is all about nonverbal communication skills. 

Have a great week!

Empathy is the answer,


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