“Our Silent Message,” Ensign, Aug. 1975, 15
Our actions, our expressions, our grooming habits, even the clothes we wear are constantly communicating messages to those around us. In fact, they “speak” so loudly at times that one writer has labeled them our “second language.” … We are reading a second language when we cheer for a player because of the color of his uniform. And like the athlete, people often judge the goals in life we are aiming for by the “colors” we are wearing. …
Now these forms of wordless communication are an important and useful part of life and influence us more than we may realize. A policeman’s uniform, for example, communicates a message to society of assistance, just as the image of a man with a mask and gun warns us of possible danger. Experiments have shown that pedestrians are more likely to follow a well-dressed person who crosses against the light than one who is poorly dressed. Thus, we sometimes “listen” to another’s hidden communication without realizing it.
And so we need ask ourselves, “What is our message?” and “How are we sending it?” If we become more aware of the ways we are transmitting our thoughts and feelings, then perhaps we will also become more understanding of another person’s communication.
J. Spencer Kinard
(“The Spoken Word,” July 7, 1974)