About this sample
About this sample
4 pages /
4 pages /
There is a general phrase that states, “actions speak louder than words” (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). This phrase translates to the meaning that people will normally believe what you do rather than what you say. Nonverbal communication is a form of communication that involves the use of words (written) and sound (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). It consists of non-linguistic communication of language that involves the use of kinesics, proxemics, chronemics and paralanguage cues (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). Nonverbal communication is a powerful form of communication that conveys meaning by accenting, complementing, substituting, contradicting and regulating verbal communication (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). Furthermore, it involves the complex use of conscious and unconscious responses (Gibbs as cited in Gordon & Druckman, 2018). Gifford (2011) reports that nonverbal communication is an essential part of interpersonal communication and plays a vital role within the context at which the communication process takes place. In addition, these contexts vary in terms of interpersonal, organizational, or cultural context. A subsequent amount of research comes to reveal that nonverbal communication plays a crucial role in the functioning of workplaces. Phutela (2015) states that the use of nonverbal communication skills within a workplace can either make or break you. Therefore, this essay will argue for the importance of using nonverbal communication skills in a workplace.
The importance of nonverbal communication skills in a workplace has set the standards to which individuals are viewed. The saying that people believe what you do more than what you say, has created an argument on how people will generally judge you irrespective of your speech. For example, in an interview, from the moment you enter the room, to the moment when you sit and utter your first few words, you are normally being observed nonverbally. This type of nonverbal communication cues is generally referred to as kinesics, the study of body language and gestures (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). Phutela (2015) research on the study of the “importance of nonverbal communication” talks about his overall professional experience of making a first impression in an interview over a firm handshake, eye contact, physical characteristic (this includes hair, clothes, nose, or figure etc) and arrival time. Similarly, Guo and Sanchez (2005) report that when health care managers interview people, they are always on alert for frowny faces and eye contact. Reason being that studies reveal that a face of health care practitioner should always portray a message of happiness, support and concern when communicating to a patient. This is said to show patients that they are in safe hands and can be open with themselves (Guo & Sanchez, 2005). Bonaccio, O’Reilly, O’Sullivan and Chiocchio (2016) also found that during interviews, physical appearance and eye contact had become a very sensitive topic within a workplace. Hence, Madera and Hebl (2012 as cited in Bonaccio et al., 2016) study revealed that interviewers who had scar marks on their faces were found to be less desirable. Reason being that in today’s society, crime has increased impeccably around the world and as a result people who are seen with scar marks anywhere on the body or face can be conveyed as being violent. Another existing nonverbal cue at a workplace is the use of touch, which is referred to as haptics and is seen as conveying emotions of comfort, consent, encouragement or physical affection. For example, Bonaccio (et al., 2016) reports show that within a workplace touch was conveyed with having two direct drives, Firstly, a touch is conveyed as functional professional touch which happens as result of working together, and secondly, a social polite touch which generally happens with association with communal communication. Similarly, at a healthcare centre studies show have shown that when patients where touched it was genuinely conveyed as showing comfort, care and support (Bonaccio, et al., 2016; Chambers, 2003; and Marcinowicz, Konstantynowicz, & Godlewski, 2010). These findings prove the importance of nonverbal communication at a workplace and how they can positively affect a communication process which leads to success, progress, strong bonds and unity.
The use of nonverbal communication skills during interpersonal communication has not always been seen as an effective way of communicating with one another. Nonverbal communication also consists of barriers that can negatively affect the process of communication. Phutela (2015) reports that most of the barriers that affect nonverbal communication at a workplace include cultural differences, misleading gestures, improper touch, inappropriate non-verbal communication, and distorted frame of reference. Furthermore, nonverbal communication, especially the use of body language and paralanguage cues at a workplace, has a way of conveying unintended messages despite what the words might mean. Cultural difference is one of the most vital cause of ineffective communication, and generally has the tendency of resulting in ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination within a group of people. (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). Verbally or nonverbally, cultures vary in the way that they communicate and express ourselves. Hence, the use nonverbal cues between people of difference origins has the power to destroy a relationship and break the trust that was once formed. Stereotyping can be a very powerful from of ineffective communication, if people do not educate themselves about the difference of nonverbal cues within the varying cultures. A simple example would be pointing your thumb up in African countries as a sign everything is good, whilst in Middle East point your thumb up mean up your ass. Ethnocentrism, which is when one culture thinks or say that their culture is above another, normally takes place in a position of power or dominance in a workplace. For example, Bonaccio (et al., 2016) study proves that people of a high position of power will normally show signs of physical expansiveness such as broad chest and shoulder and looking down on people, as a result of conveying themselves as more superior than others. Similarly, Lunenburg (2010) study reveal that people with a position of power during meeting will appear as wearing smart casual and seated with the middle of the room, as the position related to importance and being able to keep eye contact. Seating arrangement is an example of proxemics, which means the use of space. Another form ethnocentrism in a workplace is the of paralanguage cues which in this case involve the use of raising one’s voice loud. For example, in a scenario where a person in position of power, they would shout and employee for not doing their work or even just by looking in their direction. Ko, Sadler and Galinsky (2015 as cited in Bonaccio et al., 2016) found that pitch and volume of voice was normal used by people of high hierarchy. Henceforth, when a person feels that their culture has been disrespect, a negative attitude will always be portrayed negatively towards that person.Differences in gestures often relates differently with varying cultures as mentioned above. The misuse of nonverbal cues can often lead to unintended messages. For example, touching someone within a workplace area can result in ineffective communication if done incorrectly, this include touching someone during a conversation or move in into their personal space (proxemics). The type of barrier is normally always misinterpreted during a conversation and normally can end up feeling uncomfortable. The sense of touch across culture ethics vary significantly. Collectivist cultures will normally engage with touching one another, whilst collective cultures prefer not to be touch unless there is a close relationship (Du Plooy-Cilliers & Louw, 2014). Phutela (2015) state that a sense of touch within his workplace was often misinterpret due to sending out mixed messages. Therefore, touching someone within a work area especially in a business corporate world was ethically recognized. Similarly, Greenwood (2010 as cited in Lunenburg, 2010) reports that over the past years the sense of touch at a workplace was seen as a demonstration of friendship, familiarity or appreciation, and later on resulted to a formal complaint of sexual harassment or sexism due to the increase of sexual reports being reported.
Evidently nonverbal communication skills play an important role in the process of interpersonal communication in a workplace. In essence, nonverbal communication supports or contradicts part of the verbal communication. However, as seen, it provides individual with a lifetime skill that helps individuals to be aware of other people’s thoughts, emotions and ideas. Nonverbal communication is an important skill that needs to be learned and observed wisely in order prevent barriers of effective communication. The process of effective communication in nonverbal communication includes the ability to understand the use of nonverbal and visual cues. The sender and receiver/s play an essential role in the process of communication which includes more components than one might think of at first. In order to be able to communicate effectively at a workplace, the sender needs to make sense of his/her nonverbal and visual cues. This skill can only be learnt or encoding into part of the brain that is responsible for emotions. Hence, studies show that regardless of gender, whether a men or women in a workplace is able to complete a task depends entirely on their actions. Henceforth, as people grow within their position of work, they either move one step forward or two steps forward because of ability to communicate effectively with others. As for this reason, not every person is able to communicate effectively as effective communicators or more, however one can always learn to be able to understand nonverbal communication for successful results.
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