About Michael Grinder

Nonverbal communication expert

Michael Grinder has over 40 years of experience training thousands of groups. Known as the pioneer of nonverbal communication, Michael helps executives and educators assess people more accurately, connect with others more deeply, and build their charisma.

Two well-known experts personally trained Michael in the field of communication: Carl Rogers, the father of humanistic psychology, and Michael’s brother, Dr. John Grinder, co-founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. 

Over his career, Michael has written 14 books, which have been translated into seven languages. He’s a sought-after speaker for national and international events and has presented on seven continents.

Some of Michael’s additional achievements include:

  • National Director of NLP for Education
  • Teacher of the year at three different schools in California, Washington, and Oregon.
  • Recipient of the 2019 DACH “Mediator of the Year.”

Today, Michael continues to train individuals and companies, and volunteers with community organizations. He lives in Washington State with Gail, the love of his life.

You can find a distillation of 40 years of Michael’s applied research by watching his video, House of Communication.

Difficult Beginnings

Raised outside Detroit by Jack and Eileen Grinder, Michael was born the second child out of nine children. His earlier years were marked by sickness and setbacks – born with eczema, he suffered from earaches every winter and asthma every summer, requiring the family to spend the summer months living outside of Detroit.

Also plagued by dyslexia and ADHD, Michael graduated high school at a 4th-grade reading level.

Once out of high school and while attending a seminary without academic requirements, Michael spent the first two years of University studying to be a Catholic priest. He quickly became concerned that – due to his disorders, lack of sophistication and education – people would not listen to him from the pulpit.

To remedy this, Michael got ahold of the 100 most read novels by doctors and lawyers in America and began teaching himself to read. For two years, Michael woke up an hour before he was allowed to, snuck into a closet, and used the light inside to read. Despite finishing these great works of literature, Michael still prefers to write rather than read.

Exploration in Spirituality

His time in seminary was an opportunity for him to slow down and discover an inner space, a place of prayer and reflection.

However, compared to his fellow seminarians, Michael felt that he’d never had a personal conversation with the Lord. Because of this, he thought he didn’t have a spiritual basis for being a priest. Additionally, priests are not allowed to get married, and Michael believed that he needed to be married to be a good teacher.

In his own words: “I knew in high school that I wanted to be a teacher/coach. My teachers were priests, so in retrospect, I probably mixed up teaching with being a priest. In seminary, I reflected on how most priests had a great rapport with a class – almost a marital relationship – but they couldn’t hold the class accountable for fear of losing their primary relationship.

I was convinced that, to be a good teacher, I had to have a primary relationship outside of school. This would allow me to hold the students accountable without feeling like I lost my primary relationship.”

Building a career, family, and love

The credits Michael earned in seminary were only transferable to a Catholic university, which meant he ultimately ended up at Loyola-Marymount University of Los Angeles.

At this university, Michael earned a BA, MA, and teaching credential. He became a student teacher in Watts and Compton in Los Angeles, then began teaching in southern California.

Around this time, Michael met the love of his life, Gail. The two fell in love and married. He moved up to the central Oregon coast and taught for two years, then settled the family in Battle Ground, WA, where he taught for six years.

In 1979, Michael designed and built his home on a tree farm, which has been home for him and his family ever since. Michael and Gail have three children and ten grandchildren, and he spends the majority of their social time with family.

A company is born

The Michael Grinder & Associates office is on their property; it was a mom-and-pop operation for 30 years, but has grown now to a staff of six people.

The stated purpose of Michael Grinder & Associates is to fulfill Michael’s dreams while he continues to stay in love with Gail.

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