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The role of nonverbal communication within business meetings should not be over-rated. Nonverbal behavior does play a role and can help with victory in negotiations, but is not always the answer to negotiating successfully. Being aware of violating someone’s personal zone or knowing when to be quiet is as important as knowing what to say and can carry the same consequences. In general, more successful persuaders were found to be smiling, nodding, and gesturing at appropriate moments during a business meeting or job interview. What is important to remember is to know when to use these various cues to your advantage, and to know not to overuse them.
Voices have a significant persuasive affect. These are: having louder amplitude, having a greater intonation, having greater fluency in speech, and having a faster tempo during speaking. It has been proved that when one has a louder and more fluent voice they were more likely to get a favorable decision on a job interview or in a legal battle. Faster tempos have a more persuasive affect by exhibiting expertise and competence. But, there is a limit. Speaking tempos greater than 375 syllables per minute decrease their persuasive affect with faster tempos exhibiting greater and greater levels of loss of persuasiveness. Non-verbal communication is a much broader area of the process that may be more difficult to get a hold of in order to reach a level of being effective and not being misunderstood. This area of communicating possesses more impact on a person than verbal communication. Several experts on communication agree that actions speak louder than words.
Visual The area of visual non-verbal communication is most known as body language and consists of several means of communicating without having to speak a word. A person’s facial expressions, stance or posture, and even the way they move their eyes are all forms of communication through body language. This characteristic of non-verbal communication is an area which repetitious and contradictory signals play their roles. Within a business meeting, it is important to control habitual body language and gestures that they may have formed prior or habits outside of the meeting.
Tactile Tactile non-verbal communication is when you use touch to convey meaning. A manager must be very careful in this area of non-verbal communication. Appropriate gestures in the workplace are actions like a handshake or a pat on the shoulder. An arm around the shoulder, a kiss on the cheek, or a hug would definitely be an invasion into an employee’s personal space. It could also communicate a feeling of disrespect and could result in a lawsuit if the employee feels threatened by that manager’s tactile form of communication.
Use of Time, Space, and Image Another area of non-verbal communication is use of time, space, and image. The use of time can be very tricky. If you place a joke or sentence in the wrong place within a speech, you may have quite a few confused members within the audience. Same thing goes with non verbal communication. Regardless of how you convey the message, if it is not properly placed it will not have the affect intended. Use of space in non-verbal communication can be described as an invasion of personal territory. In the United States five feet is where most business transactions take place. Other countries prefer to be closer and see the space as disrespectful. Be sure to look into your audience and ensure this is an appropriate distance. Image in non-verbal communication is also very important to understand. The way we physically appear to others is also a form of communication. It communicates character, values, and principles. When attending a business meeting, you should always dress professional regardless of what you wear at home or everyday.