Nonverbal Communication: Silent but Strong Messaging

Bootprints in the Snow

My back was out last week.  That happens from time to time when my compressed discs mutiny on me after extended periods of sitting.  Sometimes, like for long car rides, it is unavoidable.  It’s always miserable.  I am an active, outdoorsy person and being flat on my back means I can’t run, or ride or even care for my horse.  To add insult to injury, I miss out on the soothing endorphin rush his whinny and companionship provide.

Once I could drive to the barn, I was elated not only by the symphony of nickers from my horse and his neighbors – which would have been enough – but by another deeply moving “nonverbal message.”  Looking around my horse’s paddock, it was obvious that someone had cleaned up for us.  You see, after forty-eight hours, a healthy horse can leave “wheelbarrows of evidence” of his digestive health.  I saw no such evidence.  Yet my horse was trotting towards me – alert and clearly feeling well.

After sharing an apple with him, I turned to the gate.  That’s when I got clarity on the message from someone dear to me on two legs.  I saw his boot-prints in the snow to and from the shed where I keep my tools for mucking and raking.  My heart melted.  I wasn’t asked if I needed a hand.  I didn’t ask anyone to lend me one.  Instead, one very special someone – silently but powerfully – made clear that he had my back when my back was failing me.

Lisa Bernard has prepared and represented people from all walks of life to speak publicly at meetings, on panels and as keynoters. She has addressed audiences as large as 2000 and designed and delivered over 500 workshops, seminars and college courses on oral communication.  She has slowed down fast-talkers, turned “uhmers” into smooth-speakers and moderated accents from Brooklyn to Beijing – all to develop confident communicators.  Lisa has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and today manages Lisa Bernard’s SecuritySpeak, LLC, a consulting firm that makes available experts on national, global and cyber-security for distinguished lectures worldwide.  You can reach her at (203) 293-4741 or and like her firm at


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