Communication is very important in daily interactions. Although it is the passing of information from one person to another, it is not limited to words. This thus raises the importance of non-verbal communication which ideally forms the greater significant part in any communication as compared to verbal communication.
The ultimate survival of any organization lies in their art of convincing customers and forming good relations as well as motivating employees to achieve the organizational goals. This paper recognizes the importance of non-verbal communication and seeks to explore the significance of such communication through the evaluation of its functions, the factors that influence its use and the impact it has on communication and the organization.
Significance of non-verbal communication in organizations
Non-verbal communication just like verbal communication has the basic function of passing information with or without the ultimate knowledge of the person passing it. It is mainly in the form of gestures, eye contact, body movements, posture and form of writing. The expressions of non-verbal messages differ from one person to another and are interpreted differently also (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 32).
The functions of non-verbal messages include the expression of emotions which is portrayed based on what one person feels about a certain subject or person through the face, voice, and body (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 34). Non-verbal messages are crucial for the expression of interpersonal attitudes mainly communicated through the senses such as touch, eye contact, and tone of voice used. It is also worth noting that non-verbal messages are functional for the personal presentation of oneself dependent on how one views himself or herself hence projecting this to other people.
The non-verbal communication is also useful in the accompaniment and offering support for verbal communication (McCroskey, Richmond, and McCroskey 34). Non-verbal communication differs from one context to another and as such plays the function of ritual practices such as the shaking of hands in the sealing of a deal as well as different nonverbal forms used as a from of greeting.
Principles of non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication has many different dimensions that determine how it is expressed. They include facial expressions, distance proximity in communication, physical appearances, touch, eye contact, time conception, posture and gesture and changes in vocals (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 36). This increases the significance of non-verbal communication following the diverse dimensions and the fact that the dimensions can be used simultaneously. Non-verbal communication is governed by principles which are determined by its nature hence its significance in organizations. First, people tend to believe in non-verbal messages more than verbal ones.
For instance, in an organization where the superior claims to be contented with the work of the employees yet projects non-verbal messages that dictate otherwise such as the use of rude tone, avoiding of eye contact and show of disgust normally frustrates the employees. Non-verbal messages are highly considered in the nonformal setting of organizations (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 28). For instance, in office parties or another set up, the employees are expected to pass messages that show their affiliation to their organizations and portray a good picture of the society.
Non-verbal communication has rules that differ with age, culture, or gender. As such, some communications that violate these rules are perceived negatively (McCroskey, Richmond, and McCroskey 58). Additionally, non-verbal communication is highly based on perceptions which determine the posture and even distance with another person (McCroskey, Richmond, and McCroskey 94). In the work place where I disagreed with my fellow workmate, I tended to avoid any contact with him, and as such developed, a negative attitude since he was the one that I perceived was on the wrong.
This could have been much better had I considered it a conflict and handled it with him. Non-verbal messages are used to judge the quality of relationships. For instance, in the customer service office, we usually have a close relationship with our supervisor, which has made it easier to communicate non-verbally and has given us freedom, which is seen by the other departments. The other principle of non-verbal communication is that such non-verbal actions can be found meaningful even if by one person hence maintaining (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 20).
Factors that Influence the use of non-verbal communication
Culture plays a great role in influencing the type of non-verbal messages and the interpretation of such messages, which also includes the organizational culture (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 138). For instance, the shaking of hands in western culture is usually a manner of greeting which is not applicable in the Asian culture. In an organization where there are limited opportunities for verbal communication, there is an increase in the use of non-verbal communication.
Non-verbal communication is also influenced by the kind of message that is to be passed as well as the status of the person (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 127). This applies especially for messages which are difficult to express verbally or liable not to be seriously considered. Further, these messages are influenced by the stereotypes held about certain people and the first impression held of a person, selective perceptions about him or her as well as other last impression made by the person (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 94).
The new member of staff that was recruited in our organization gave the impression of a good listener due to his ability to pay attention. I got this impression while having lunch with him during which he seemed to be concerned and concentrated on the conversation we had through the agreement, eye contact, and leaning forward in the process. Non-verbal communication is also influenced by personality types. For instance; extroverts are likely to pass different messages as compared to introverts (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 91).
Impact of non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication influences the entire organization due to its nature to get the truth as well as influence perceptions. It is very significant in the perceptions, especially of management, which influences the attitudes the staff have of work and the ultimate performance. Organizational relations are affected by the level and interpretation as well as the success of nonverbal communication. As such, this influences the willingness of staff to improve on teamwork for ultimate success.
For instance, in our organization, the positive perceptions of each other, which influences how we communicate non verbally, has improved our teamwork since we are comfortable working together. The nonverbal messages are very important in every department of the organization. I work in the customer service department in which customer satisfaction is assessed through the communication non- verbally. Non-verbal communication also influences decision-making process, especially regarding the type of products to offer to clients.
It plays major roles in influencing managerial decision making and influences the success of verbal communications. It is also useful in activities such as presentations that are especially to management and creating a good impression on them. Non-verbal communication also acts as a way of determining the success of leadership and the ultimate impact on authority.
It also impacts on the organizational climate and culture in terms of communication and performance as well as influencing the levels of innovation, conflict management and effectiveness of relationships in the organization among the staff and between them and their superiors (McCroskey, Richmond and McCroskey 187).
Non-verbal communication such as whispering when one is making a presentation, negative facial expressions to show disagreement or other gestures that are meant to hurt the other person, should not be expressed in the organization since they lead to more conflicts.
Nonverbal communication is very significant in the organizations and can be adequately applied to create impressions that are positive and as such, encourages survival in an organization. This paper has evaluated the significance of nonverbal communication in an organization which determines its performance and competitive advantage in the sector.
McCroskey, James, Virginia Richmond and Linda McCroskey. Organizational communication for survival: Making work, work. 3rd ed. New York: Allyn & Bacon, 2004.