Have you observed the importance of nonverbal communication in your interactions with others? Be it friends, families, or colleagues.
More than ever, having the ability to initiate and sustain effective conversation or communication is priceless. Yet many are unable to build healthy personal and professional relationships because of their misgiving about the importance of nonverbal communication.
Thus, in this article, you’ll learn in detail about nonverbal communication and its importance to human interactions in various situations. So that you can make the most out of nonverbal cues in your career, business, and life communications generally.
But first, let’s look at:
What is nonverbal communication?
Non-verbal communication is the type of communication that involves the use of body language, or what many know as nonverbal cues. And often, they produce real messages about the feelings and emotions of people without feigning.
Yes, these nonverbal cues get expressed naturally. They encompass mannerisms, physical expressions, and behaviors. You can also term them “wordless signals” in the process of communication.
In other words, nonverbal communication projects your feelings and emotions, which your words cannot convey. And these feelings and emotions can either be positive or negative.
Examples of positive emotions are joy, happiness, amusement, etc. On the other hand, negative emotions or feelings include anger, pain, sadness, distress, regret, amongst others.
Explain the importance of nonverbal communication
Why are nonverbal communication cues important?
We’ll answer the question by explaining the importance of nonverbal communication in these five essential categories:
- Importance of nonverbal communication in business
- Importance of nonverbal communication in presentation
- Importance of nonverbal communication in teaching and learning
- Importance of nonverbal communication in nursing
- Importance of nonverbal communication in an organization
But before then, let’s set the foundation right by looking at some examples of nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication and body language (and examples)
As said earlier, nonverbal communication are wordless signals (paralanguage) involving the use of body language to communicate. And they include:
Eye contact is such an exquisite nonverbal communication that you can use to assess the direction and the effectiveness of a communication process. Not only that, maintaining good eye contact with the person you’re speaking with may either depict interest or disinterest.
Based on this, the importance of eye contact in nonverbal communication cannot get overstressed. Especially if one’s eyes are working perfectly fine.
Tone of Voice
While what you say in the process of communicating with someone matters, how you say it is often more important than what you say or have to say. That’s where the tone of your voice comes in.
Does your voice tone project warmth, anger, interest, or aggression? Or other emotions or feelings?
In any case, you sure want the tone of your voice to be consistent with whatever you said or have to say. For this reason, you don’t want to get boxed up because of miscommunication arising from improper usage of tone of voice as a nonverbal cue.
Remember the last time you got a piece of good news from a friend, family, or a colleague at work. What was your reaction?
Chances are that you expressed your surprise and happiness this way:
With your eyes wide open and puffed cheek, a menacing wow slid out your mouth.
No doubt, facial expressions are powerful nonverbal communication signals. And they shouldn’t be downplayed by anyone. Especially as one striving to become an effective communicator or conversationalist.
Posture and gesture
Posture and gesture have to do with how you coordinate and position your body in the process of communication. And whether you’re conscious of this or not, every move or stance your body (or some part of it) takes sends a message to your conversation partner(s). Good or bad.
Some of these postures include:
- Nodding your head and shaking (weak or firm)
- Open or crossed arms
- Placing hands on your hip
- Amongst others
1. Importance of nonverbal communication in business
Can you do business effectively without interacting with other people? You’ll agree that, even in this age of technology, the business environment is typical of lots of human interactions.
And a large amount of these communications involve nonverbal cues, placing significance on why both business managers and employees must have a practical grasp of this nonverbal communication.
Not only that. The importance of nonverbal communication in the workplace is so practical; in the sense that workers need it to do business with outsiders, too.
Also, in business meetings, you maintain eye contact with other participants, especially with the person speaking at the time.
Because that will allow you not to miss out on essential things. Yet keeping good eye contact doesn’t only communicate your interest to the speaker. It helps you sustain your attention, while focusing on the goal of the meeting.
Thus, the following are some of the importance of Nonverbal Communication in a business environment:
- It helps identify and creates an opportunity to effectively interact with your colleagues, existing and prospective customers, and competitors.
- Serve as reinforcement or validations of what has been said in words by a person.
- Allow actual assessment of real intentions, feelings, and emotions of people (within and other the business).
2. Importance of nonverbal communication in presentation
As a career or business person, presenting some information to a group or audience is something you’d have to do at one point or another. But if you’re new to delivering a presentation to a predetermined audience, you’d need to sharpen your public speaking or presentation skills.
But a practical understanding of nonverbal communication will enable you to achieve a good presentation session.
So taking the different forms of nonverbal communication, here are some of the ways nonverbal cues can play a crucial role in your presentation:
Importance of the non-verbal cue known as eye contact to presentation
As one in front of an audience, you should know that you determine how your audience will behave during your presentation. And one of the sure ways to connect with them is through eye contact.
You don’t want to be looking towards the floor, ceiling, or into your notes. If you do that, you’re close to losing your audience to an irreparable boredom or disinterest—in you and whatever you have to say.
Thus, establish a well-regulated eye contact with your listeners by letting your eyeballs sway around the room— from left to right and front to back.
Importance of the non-verbal cue known as Facial expressions to presentation
Aside from building good credibility with an audience using eye contact, maintaining appealing facial expressions is something you don’t want to do amiss. That’s because whether your audience is willing to accept you and what you’ve got to say depends on it.
Facial expressions like keeping a smiling face do not only ease you up. It makes your audience see you as a happy and friendly fellow. And for this reason, they’re obliged by their instincts to open themselves to you with the hope that you’ll somewhat infest them with that happiness (inside of you) through what you have to tell them in the presentation.
Importance of the non-verbal cue known as Body gestures and Movements to presentation
As a speaker in front of a group or audience, you should coordinate your body gracefully. Yes, every part of it— starting from your hands.
You don’t want to put your hands on your waist or tucked up in your pockets. Instead, you ought to use them to make gestures and sustain the interest of your listeners while you drive home your point.
Amongst other postures, you need to be mindful of your standing position. You shouldn’t stand with your head bent to the ground. Rather stand erect yet balanced—in a way that your self-confidence gets noticed. Remember, nobody wants to listen to a timid person that’s not sure of what he has to say.
3. Importance of nonverbal communication in teaching and learning
Even while educationists acknowledge teaching as a high-stress job, they appreciate the importance of nonverbal communication in teaching and learning in a classroom setting.
As a trained educationist, I know that nonverbal cues are an “arsenal” every teacher maximizes in their instructional presentation of lessons to their students.
And just like any other kind of presentation, teaching adopts the use of body language and signals.
Thus, the practicality of nonverbal cues and the importance of nonverbal communication to presentation applies to teaching. Just as I explained above.
4. Importance of nonverbal communication in nursing
According to Nursing Times in a post, the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code (NMC, 2015) identifies non-verbal communication as a tool, stating that nurses should:
“Use a range of verbal and non-verbal communication methods, and consider cultural sensitivities, to better understand and respond to people’s personal and health needs.”
That’s to say that nonverbal communication is relevant to nursing too. Say you took a loved one for treatment to the hospital, and the nurse who showed up put on a disgusting facial expression; how would you feel?
You’ll be uneasy. Anyone can assume that. But upon entering the hospital, the first nurse, probably standing at the doorway, gave you a graceful smile.
Can you tell the effect that may have on you or your loved one who needs medical attention?
5. Importance of nonverbal communication in an organization
How you move your body or get it positioned during a communication speaks volumes about many things. That’s to say, the nonverbal communication cues you show can tell your conversation partner if you’re tired or so interested in a discussion.
Beyond this, it can send clues to others about what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling. Some of them include deception, honesty, willingness, and determination.
In the same way, business managers or leaders can deduce a lot from their employees (or team members). And vice versa.
Importance of nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships at workplace
Imagine that after executing a task so well, your boss patted you on your back as you walked side by side at the closing hour out of the office.
If your boss had commended you earlier for a job well done, you’d already know the boss is happy with you and impressed by your work performance for that day. Especially if you hadn’t been performing at par with his expectation before then.
Also, in a business meeting, a shaky tone of voice from a colleague can tell you, your team members, or your team leader that he/she lacks self-confidence.
Other areas that nonverbal communication is essential:
Importance of nonverbal communication in counseling
You’ll agree that emotions are rooted within. And that’s why, in a therapeutic session, a therapist becomes deliberate about looking out for a person’s nonverbal communication cues.
That’s because these cues are often louder than words. The spoken words of a person can sometimes contradict what his body language is saying.
Thus to help his clients resolve their issues, a counselor carefully points out deep emotional matters that may be the causative factors for the challenge(s) they’re battling. It could be in a relationship, mental, educational, financial, marital, or familiar problems.
The five different areas of the importance of nonverbal communication we’ve looked at are only part of many situations demanding solid interpersonal relationship skills. That’s to tell you, once you understand these nonverbal cues or body language in communication, you can surely apply them in diverse settings or practical situations.