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Examining Communication Strategies

Examining Communication Strategies

Effective communication depends not only on the words of the message but also on the action that surrounds the sending of that message. It is important to evaluate both the verbal and the non-verbal cues in a message to understand the true message (Burgoon, Guerrero & Floyd, 2016). A scene between Dan Foreman and Carter Duryea from the 2004 movie In Good Company is a good representation of how non-verbal cues can send more of a message than the words of the two communicating parties.

When the two parties meet for the first time, Carter Duryea is already in Dan Foreman’s office, even though he was not invited. This is a message of disrespect because he is the younger employee who is now Dan’s boss, even though Carter is twice as old as him. When they shake hands, Dan holds Carter’s hand with a hard grip and shakes it for longer than usual. Even though the conflict between the two characters cannot be pointed out in their words, this action represents the conflict between them. A hard handshake grip can be interpreted as a sign of anger that is reflected by Dan when he realizes that a younger person has been employed as his boss. Additionally, the fact that he asks about carter’s age shows that he is bothered by working for someone who is younger than him. When Carter says his age he responds, “26 years old, and you are my new boss.” This response shows that this is something unusual for him. Lastly, Dan’s throwing of the ball reflects his anger towards the situation.

In conclusion, the conversation between Carter and Dan shows that communication involves more than just words. Non-verbal actions, tone, and the choice of words in communication can create a below-the-surface meaning of what the parties involved intend to communicate.


Burgoon, J. K., Guerrero, L. K., & Floyd, K. (2016). Nonverbal communication. Routledge.

Movieclips (2011, May 30). In Good Company – You’re My New Boss (2004). [Video File] Retrieved from:


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Examining Communication Strategies

Practice picking up on what is beneath the iceberg. Watch this video clip and pick at least one sentence or nonverbal behavior.

Examining Communication Strategies

Examining Communication Strategies

Then describe the behavior and at least one below-the-surface meaning to what was being said.


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