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Everybody communicates on two levels, namely verbally and non-verbally. Verbal communication represents a small portion of our overall message. People can lie, misrepresent or mislead us with their words. Non-verbal language represents most part of our total message. Mastering the language of non verbal communication becomes more and more an art and has an impact on our outcomes. The non-verbal message will always be a more accurate representation of the person's feelings, attitudes or beliefs. As nonverbal signs reveal the emotional side of a communication, it is often important for us to try to determine what message is being transmitted along with the verbal one. Sometimes they are the same; other times they are drastically different. An easy way to determine what someone is thinking or feeling is to observe whether their signals are open or closed. Open signals represent openness, acceptance, willingness, enthusiasm, and approval. Closed signals represent the opposite of all of these. Closed signals are crossed legs, arms, hands. A lack of eye contact, rigid posture, leaning away from we, and the hands on top of the head are also examples of closed signals. Open signals are exactly what they imply: open hands, uncrossed legs, eye contact, leaning forward, and so on. We communicate through gestures, facial expressions, eye movements and eye contact, posture and body position, verbal tone, inflection, pauses, pace and volume. The way people dress also sends a non-verbal signal. Then, silence is also an important communication tool. Most of us find an extended period of silence and we rush to fill the void with words, usually saying more than we mean to say. By using silence at strategic times, we can sometimes reveal certain feelings and attitudes that may be helpful for an effective communication. The best-known type of nonverbal communication remains body language. To be a good reader of body language requires that we sharpen our powers of observation and perception. Whether we are aware of it or not, each of us spends a lot of time decoding body language. We observe a wrinkled forehead, a raised eyebrow, a tug on the ear, fingers tapping on the table top, legs crossed and uncrossed, arms crossed over the chest. These movements should be considered in relation to the message itself; however, many times the nonverbal communications come through louder than the words that are actually being spoken.

Elements of Non Verbal Communication

The study of nonverbal communication is divided into several specific categories.

1. Kinesics

It is a synonym for body language and it deals with physical movement, sometimes called affective displays. This study applies traditional linguistic principles to the body as a whole or to specific parts, particularly the face, hands and arms. It also deals with posture in standing and sitting, as well as with eye and facial expressions, such as the arching of eyebrows or rolling of the eyes. Kinesics varies culturally. For example, a person of Mediterranean culture may use extensive hand movements and body gestures as an expression of anger, whereas a Japanese person may be apparently less excited, but perhaps no less angry. Kinesics also includes the use of smiling, frowning, giggling and so on, which also differs by culture. While universally, smiling reveals happiness, in some cultures it also is used to mask sadness or to hide embarrassment. Kinesics generally refers not to sign language that relies on gestures and expressions in a grammatical context as an alternative to spoken language. But it is associated with the use of emblems, physical gestures that support or reinforce what is said verbally. Some emblems seem to be universal, while others are cultural, with different interpretations in various cultures, or perhaps with different uses by men and women. An example of a universal emblem is the uplifted shoulders and upturned hands that indicate I dont know virtually everywhere in the world. An example of a culture-bound emblem is the encircled thumb and forefinger. That gesture can be interpreted as worthless in France, money in Japan, OK in the United States, a curse in Arab cultures, and an obscenity in Germany, Brazil and Australia.

2. Occulesics

It is closely related to kinesics. Occulesics deals with eye behavior as an element of communication. Some aspects of occulesics deal with a static or fixed gaze versus dynamic eye movement. This so-called eye contact is the subject of much interpretation by the observer, making it difficult to predict its exact communication impact. In the West, direct eye contact (looking into the eyes of the other person) is common about 40 percent of the time while talking and 70 percent while listening. In Japan, it is more common to look at the throat of the other person. In China and Indonesia, the practice is to lower the eyes because direct eye contact is considered bad manners, and in Hispanic culture direct eye contact is a form of challenge and disrespect. In Arab culture, it is common for both speakers and listeners to look directly into each others eyes for long periods of time, indicating keen interest in the conversation. In Mediterranean society, men often look at women for long periods of time that may be interpreted as starring by women from other cultures. Even the same kinesic gesture can be interpreted differently. For example, the facial gesture of downcast eyes during conversation can suggest social deference, evasion, insincerity or boredom.

3. Proxemics

It involves the social use of space in a communication situation. One aspect of this is the closeness between and among people when they speak, and the significant role that culture plays in this. Distance is generally described on a continuum from intimate space (0-18 inches) to personal space or informal distance (18 inches to 4 feet) to social space or formal distance (4- 12 feet), and public space or distance (beyond 12 feet). Proxemics also deals with the effective use of space in social settings, such as businesses and homes, ranging and the arrangement of space to encourage or inhibit communication.

4. Haptics

Haptics focuses on touching as an element of communication, indicating both the type of touch as well as its frequency and intensity. Like many other elements of nonverbal communication, haptics is very much a function of culture. It has been noted, for example, that Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cultures employ much social touching in conversation, including embraces and hand-holding; these are called high-contact (or high-touch) cultures. In moderate-touch cultures such as North America and Northern Europe, touching is used only occasionally, such as in handshakes and sporadic shoulder touching or back slapping. In low contact cultures such as in Northern Asian cultures, meanwhile, social touching is rarely used at all. But the geography is by no means that simple. People in the Asian nation of the Philippines, for example, use a large amount of social touching in conversation and personal interaction. Even within a culture, haptics vary. For example, handshakes vary in length and strength of grip depending on the actual (or hoped for) degree of intimacy between the two people shaking hands.



Also known as paralanguage, it deals with vocal cues, more accurately referred to as the non phonemic qualities of language. These include accent, loudness, tempo, pitch, cadence, rate of speech, nasality and tone, insofar as these convey meaning. Vocalics is sometimes subdivided into several categories. Vocal characterizers include laughing, crying, yawning, and so on. These can be associated with culture, such as the different ways various cultures accept the practice of belching. Vocal qualifiers such as volume, pitch, rhythm and tempo also are associated with cultural distinctions. In Arab culture, for example, speaking loudly connotes sincerity, whereas in North America it often is interpreted as aggressive. Vocal segregates (sounds such as mmmm, uh-huh, oooo) likewise also differ among various cultures. Vocal rate deals with the speed at which people talk, another factor that offers various interpretations.

6. Chronemics

Chronemics deals with the use of time as an element of communication. Formal time is measured in minutes, hours, days, and so on. Informal time is measured relative to seasons, social customs, lunar cycles, etc. Chronemics involves specifics such as punctuality (which can be monochronic or M-time and polychronic or P-time) along with patterns of dominance or deference within a communication situations. For example, studies show that men are more likely than women to dominate a conversation and interrupt another speaker. Chronemics also deals with time from the standpoint of social settings, such as the likelihood among Americans of arriving early for business meetings but being fashionably late for social activities, while in Latin American and Arab culture, business people often arrive at a time Westerns would consider late, taking business meetings as occasions for hospitality and socializing. Chronemics also considers the use of monochronemics (doing one thing at a time, emphasis on schedules and promptness, getting to the point quickly) versus polychronemics (doing several things at a time, emphasis on people and the whole of a relationship). Studies show that the monochronemic conversation (talking about one thing at a time) is common in Northern Europe and North America. Meanwhile, Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures are more likely to use polychronemic conversation (multiple conversations at the same time, and frequent interruption by other speaker-listeners).

7. Appearance

It deals with the communication role played by a persons look or physical appearance (as compared with physical gestures associated with kinesics). It deals with physical aspects of body shape, hair color and skin tone, as well as grooming, dress (both clothing and jewelry) and use of appearance enhancements such as body piercings, brandings and tattoos. Consider, for example, how attire is an essential part of nonvocal communication among areas influenced by Arab culture. Among North and Western Africans, public speakers prefer long robes and big sleeves so that when they raise their hands, extra sleeve cloth slips through the arms and puffs up their shoulder, making them look bigger and more elegant.

The Arab and North African head covering with different bands of cloth and the color of the robes (white in daytime, dark at night) are more than fashion statements.

8. Olfactics

It is an aspect of nonverbal communication dealing with smells. Though not widely studied from a communication perspective, olfactics might include the use of perfumes and spices. It is associated with proxemics in that, the closer people are in communication, the more likely that the smell will be relevant. In some high-contact cultures such as Samoan or Arab, it is customary to get close enough in conversation to smell the other person. Indeed, Arabs and religious Muslims are known for using perfumes, according to the teaching the Prophet that it is a charity to smell nice for others.

Use of Non Verbal Communication in Business World

Eye Contact The most important elements to be taken into consideration are: eye contact, gestures, movement, and posture. There are messages which can be sent when one thinks of eyes combined with different positions and movements of the eyelids and eyebrows. As with all forms of nonverbal communication, messages sent by the eyes should be decoded in terms of the words accompanying them. Good eye contact helps the audience to develop trust in us, thereby helping our message to appear credible. Poor eye contact does exactly the opposite. People rely on visual clues to help them decide on whether to attend to a message or not. If they find that someone isn't 'looking' at them when they are being spoken to, they might feel uneasy. So, it is a wise business communicator who makes a point of attempting to engage every member of the audience by looking at them. This is of course easy if the audience consists of few people, but in an auditorium it can be a much harder task. So, it is advisable to balance our time between the following areas: Have a slow scanning of the entire audience Focus on particular areas of our audience (perhaps looking at the wall between two heads if we are still intimidated by public speaking) Look at individual members of the audience for some seconds per person.

Looking at individual members of a large group can be 'tricky' to get right at first. Equally, it can be a fine balancing act if our audience comprises of just one or two members - spend too much time looking them in the eyes and they will feel intimidated, stared at, 'hunted down'. When focusing on individual members in a large meeting or auditorium, we can try and spread our attention throughout the room. That is, we shouldnt just focus our personal gaze on selected individuals from just one part of the room. Unless we are specifically looking to interact with a particular person at that moment of our presentation, we should select our individual eyecontact audience members from the whole room.

Brand Projection ( Visual Vocabulary )

A companys brand visibility may consist of the secondary design elements that are used in conjunction with logo to form the brand identity. The brand visibility is composed of font styles, colors, shapes, backgrounds, photographic library, text treatments (such as taglines) and even the type of paper they choose. These elements should be used consistently throughout the stationery set and marketing collateral and have advantages over use of a logo and text alone: The elements of the visual vocabulary become a graphic language, which takes viewer deeper into the graphics and materials. They add visual interest and continue to tell the businesss story. They are another way that we can communicate about our business with potential clients and prospects, aside from the actual words and text about our business. Graphics in a visual vocabulary are a method of communication thats more quickly understood than the text alone. A viewer can absorb the meanings of colors, symbols, photos, shapes and even font types much more quickly than by reading text. So, in cases where time is of the essence when we are marketing to busy people, creating motion graphics such as animations or commercials or designing items that people will quickly pass by, such as car graphics or billboards, this is an important consideration. Many people have a deeper emotional connection with graphics than they do with text. Customers will be more likely to form an emotional bond with the brand and company if more graphics are being used, as opposed to just using our logo and text on a letterhead, business card, datasheet or brochure. Color and photography are two of the most effective visual vocabulary elements to use to affect this emotional brand connection. We can communicate some of the personality factors of our business through our visual vocabulary. We can make our company look more professional or people-oriented, more contemporary or traditional or communicate any of our companys values by varying the shapes, colors and fonts used as the surrounding visual vocabulary. So, if we choose our vocabulary elements carefully, the story of personality of the company can be told through such elements. Using a visual vocabulary consistently throughout all of our corporate materials will automatically make our materials look more coherent, credible and professional, through the repetitive use of consistent elements.

The right combination of visual vocabulary elements can also make our materials more eye-catching. When our materials are in competition with others in a stack of proposals, on a table with other brochures or even a postcard coming out of a crowded mailbox theyll have a better chance of getting noticed when they are designed with stunning and unique visual vocabulary elements. Most of the viewers better remember visual elements. A visual vocabulary will increase the memorability of our materials as well, since people will have more visual elements to remember in our materials. Elements of the visual vocabulary can reinforce our logo to help quicken the brand recognition building process. One common way that we do this is to use a large version of the companys logo, or a portion of the logo, as a watermark on the letterhead, business card, envelope or website. Not only does this vocabulary element effect add visual interest, but it will help to speed the time that it takes for our potential customers and existing clients to recognize and remember our brand. A visual vocabulary becomes a tool kit from which we can easily pull visual elements to create new marketing materials. If we have a business card and brochure and need to create a post card quickly, then many of our visual elements, such as color scheme, font styles and photograph choices can be pulled from the existing marketing materials and rearranged to create a new piece. This is especially convenient when we have a short time or low budget to produce new marketing materials. The bonus function of a visual vocabulary is that when were doing a special promotion, launching a new product or extending our services or product line, we can vary elements of the visual vocabulary or even develop a new set of visual vocabulary elements, to make the materials for our new promotion stand out. While consistency throughout a campaign is important, the elements of our visual vocabulary arent as set in stone as our logo. This is especially effective when we work just with the colors and drawn elements and leave the text and tagline treatments the same. That way, our materials will still be partially consistent with the other company materials, but we can give our new product or promotions materials a voice of its own. Adding some visual vocabulary elements to our brand identity makes communicating with the audience easier, quicker and more emotionally charged. This gives us a highly effective

way to increase the visibility and memorability. When used correctly, they can increase credibility as well. They even can help add some personality to our brand identity and can make future marketing materials easier to develop. In the business world, dealing with color puts nonverbal communication on a whole new level. We need to be aware of the meanings of different colors, as well as the impression they will convey in a business report, web page, or PowerPoint presentation.

Significance of Colours It is our job to make sure that the impression is a professional one. Color should be used only to emphasize key points, group similar items, create a mood, and/or provide continuity. Research has shown that documents in color will be remembered more, read more easily, and appear slightly more important and believable. The chief concern in using color is legibility, and the chief tool is contrast. The colors chosen should systematically enhance the document by using appropriate color schemes. One color should maintain a consistent meaning throughout the document. Businesses recommend using dark colors, such as black and navy blue in apparel. For documents, gender-neutral, dark colors are also advocated.

Color guidelines for brands: Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength, vitality. In business, it is great for accents and boldness, stimulates appetites, is associated with debt. Pink evokes femininity, innocence, softness, health. In business, be sure we're aware of its feminine implications and associations. Orange evokes fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance. In business, it's great to highlight information in graphs and on charts evokes positivity, sunshine and cowardice. In business, it appeals to intellectuals and is excellent for accenting things. Too much is unnerving. Green evokes tranquility, health, freshness. In business, its deep tones convey status and wealth; its pale tones are soothing.

Blue evokes authority, dignity, security, faithfulness. In business, it implies fiscal responsibility and security. Plus it is universally popular.

Yellow is an optimistic color that almost always evokes a positive response. Yellow gets we motivated; it stimulates creative and intellectual energy; it's cheerful and easygoing.

Purple evokes sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery. In business, it's right for upscale and artistic audiences.

Brown evokes utility, earthiness, woodiness and subtle richness. In business, it signifies less important items in documents.

White evokes purity, truthfulness, being contemporary and refined. In business, it enlivens dark colors and can be refreshing or sterile.

Gray evokes somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality. In business, it is always right for conservative audiences.

Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic. In business, it creates drama and is often a fine background color.

Gestures Most of us, when talking with persons, use our hands and face to help us describe an event or object or just discuss. We wave our arms about, turn our hands this way and that, roll our eyes, raise our eyebrows, and smile or frown. Our audience of friends is no different from our business audience they rely on our face and hands. It is totally understandable that our nervousness can cause us to 'freeze up', but it is in our and our communication's best interests if we manage that nervousness, manage our fear of public speaking, and use our body to help emphasize our point. Then, as part of man's genetic heritage we are programmed to pay attention to movement. We instantly notice it, whether we want to or not, assessing the movement for any hint of a threat to us. There is nervous movement and this can be transmitted to the audience and therefore the message is being diluted e.g. in a sales presentation, in sales support, in delivering goods, in market survey, in brokerage. With respect to the posture we consider the first type of 'posture' as the one we think of intuitively-the straight back versus the slumped shoulders; the feet-apart confident stance verses the feet

together, hand-wringing of the nervous; the head up and smiling versus the head down and frowning. And every one of the positions we place the various elements of our body in tells a storya powerful, nonverbal story. For example, stand upright, shoulders straight, head up and eyes facing the front. Wear a big smile. Notice how we 'feel' emotionally. On the contrary a casual person would slump our shoulders, look at the floor and slightly shuffle the feet. A strong, upright, positive body posture not only helps us to breathe easier (good for helping to calm nerves!) but also transmits a message of authority, confidence, trust and power. The type of 'posture' comes from our internal mental and emotional states. We can have great body posture but without internal mental and emotional posture the words will sound hollow to the audience. The first type of 'posture' is fundamentally tied to truth and honesty. It is about 'walking the talk' and being who we say we are. It's about not trying to sell something we don't believe in or use ourselves. It's about not trying to pass it off as an expert when all we've ever done is read a book on the subject. It's all about making sure that the words and intentions are underpinned by truth and honesty.

Application in Organizational Context

a) IN THE EVALUATION OF PERSONNEL In today's competitive job market, hiring interviews serve as a "marketing tool" for attracting good employees.HR professionals attempt to gather information about the suitability of potential employees via resumes, job applications and employment tests but mainly through evaluations made in personal interviews Nonverbal communication plays an important part in the interview from both the applicant's and the interviewer's perspectives. The applicant engages in careful observation, thoughtfully monitoring verbal responses to show his job-related strengths and hide potential weaknesses. The applicants displaying more expressive visual nonverbal behaviors, such as greater eye contact and smiling, more interviewer-focused and a more direct body orientation (e.g., forward lean), receive more favorable evaluations than non-expressive interviewees. Some other nonverbal signs like

physical attractiveness, appropriate business attire, and good grooming also have a positive effect on evaluations of interviewees. The increased use of electronic communication technology has led to greater use of videoconferencing to conduct hiring interviews as compared to telephonic interviews. Face-to-face interviews give interviewers access to additional nonverbal cues that may reveal the interviewees' anxiety and discomfort, which then leads to more negative evaluations of the live interviewees. Ironically, Prospective employees may also use the hiring interview as an evaluation of what the company's culture is like, affecting their decisions to accept certain positions. The interviewer's nonverbal behavior can also play an important part in influencing the applicant's behavior during the interview. Interviewers may behave in either a cold or warm manner. From the interviewer's perspective, the hiring interview requires skill in decoding nonverbal cues. The interviewer is processing the interviewee's nonverbal behavior in an attempt to check the validity of the verbal statements, as well as attempting to uncode the underlying attitudes that may suggest that the employee is both a good worker and a good fit for the job.


A number of popular leadership theories emphasize the importance of interpersonal skills in developing high quality leader-follower relationships .These high quality relationships are also characterized by mutual trust, respect, and the leader's sensitivity to the employee's needs. The leader's ability to decode employee's feelings and attitudes are done through nonverbal channels, and the leader's provision of emotional support and motivation, presumably implicating nonverbal expressive behavior, are critical to leader success. In addition to the ability to manage relationships, effective leadership depends on the ability of leaders to manage impressions. The employers ability to monitor and control his social behavior, including nonverbal behavior is predictive of emerging him as a leader. In addition, the nonverbal display of dominance and power conveyed through such nonverbal cues as eye contact and posture, amount of speaking time etc., can be used to both emerge as a group leader and to help maintain an image of leadership. The relationship between displays of power and person perception may be more complex. For instance, a more relaxed facial expression and direct eye contact were associated with greater perception of power and credibility in employers

The role of nonverbal communication in leadership, particularly the communication of emotions, is most clear in theories of charismatic, inspirational, and transformational leaders. Both inspirational and charismatic leaders are characterized by their abilities to arouse and inspire followers and to spur them to action. More emotionally expressive leaders are rated more charismatic by their followers than leaders scoring low on expressiveness. However, nonverbal expressive skill contributes to the charismatic leader's dynamic persona, successful charismatic leaders are also exceptional decoders of followers' nonverbal cues, being able to read the desires and needs of followers and be responsive to them.


Emotion management in the workplace deals with limiting and controlling the expression of negative, undesirable emotions (e.g., anger, jealousy, anxiety) and the encouragement of positive, desirable emotions (e.g., pleasantness, enthusiasm, enjoyment, appreciation). Nonverbal communication is implicated in making employees, particularly managers to be more sensitive to the display of negative emotions in others e.g., realizing that the behavioral display of anger can be an indicator of a worker's frustration, or may be a precursor to workplace violence; decoding cues of worry or rejection in a supervisee and helping employees to express desirable emotions (e.g., encouraging workers to provide service with a smile; providing motivating words and cues of encouragement). Individuals may emerge as leaders of work groups because they are good managers of the group's emotion, inspiring them when necessary, displaying positive affect and optimism, and setting or maintaining the group's positive emotional.


Nonverbal behavior plays an important part in the quality of customer service. Positive and more immediate nonverbal behaviors by sales and service workers (e.g., smiling, eye contact) are associated with a more positive experience by customers.

As the work culture became busier, employee's positive affect declines in comparison to nonbusy routines, but of course results are better in the busier times despite the lack of employees positive affect. Positive nonverbal style will lead to better quality customer service, and subsequently greater profits, there is a strong belief in the business world. Training programs in friendly, expressive customer service engage in more positive and immediate nonverbal behavior. As greater levels of rapport in organization is achieved, employees begin to mimic each other's nonverbal cues and synchronize them (mirroring posture, gestures, voice tone and inflections, etc.). This mimicry is associated with more positive evaluations of and liking for interactional partners. In past few years, there has been considerable interest in mass marketing and advertising on the role of nonverbal cues in influencing the buying public. This includes the use of nonverbal cues in both print and television advertisements e.g., use of music, sound effects, concern for the appearance cues of individuals in ads, voice tone and inflections of product spokespersons etc. Thus Nonverbal communication can also act as a strong marketing where we can shout loudly about our product without speaking a word.


Knowledge of nonverbal communication in business plays two roles. Managers use nonverbal communication to effectively lead other employees and team members. And team members in the business, whether they realize it or not, use nonverbal cues to communicate information to individuals outside the business, whether theyre clients, competitors or colleagues in a complementary industry. Business owners can gain from learning about nonverbal communication and its potential benefits. Nonverbal communication can increase the opportunity to interact with colleagues, competitors, clients and potential clients through avenues outside of explicit word choice. Posture, vocal tone and eye contact can deliver subtle messages that reinforce whats being said to convey consistency and trustworthiness.