Nowadays successful business communication presupposes not only external relationships (e.g. communication with suppliers, customers, investors, etc.) but also internal, as well as the way information circulates up and down and within the company. Thus, it is significant to remember that any message can be interpreted in different ways and consequently its original meaning can be distorted (1, 2005). Hence, avoiding misunderstandings and achieving clarity of presentation and reception are major imperatives and are of vital importance.
To attain the above-mentioned objectives, one should overcome some definite barriers, namely: differences in perception, incorrect filtering, language, poor listening, and differences in backgrounds (2, 2005). As we can see obstacles on the way of perfect understanding are not limited to speech only but go far beyond.
And at this point we should take into consideration that any conversation regardless of its level is made of not only words but includes also gestures, facial expression, etc. in other words, nonverbal communication which is regarded to have the same significance as the verbal one (according to Kramer, “94% of our communication is nonverbal” though it has not been verified) (3, 2005). As Marilyn vos Savant puts it: “To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom,
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Generally five key elements of nonverbal communication are distinguished: eye contact, gestures, movement, posture and written communication (for instance, routine messages such as requests and replies, positive messages, etc.) (1, 2005). Using them a manager can considerably facilitate his job and achieve better results. People at meeting rarely think of themselves as been watched, therefore, it is easy to read their body language.
For example, strong and upright body posture can transmit authority, self-confidence and power, whereas with the help of smiling and nodding you can express your approval (to the contrary, disapproval is expressed by frowning and ‘gazing’ on the speaker). You can notice attention to the subject by people’s hands clasped, but folded hands and crossed legs indicate disagreement and perhaps hostility.
To cut the long story short, mastering the body language and perceiving all subtleties of non-verbal communication will undoubtedly help better understanding and improve business communications.
- Excellence in Business Communication. Sixth Edition by John V. Thill and Courtland L. Bovée. ISBN 0-13-127321-3
- Nonverbal Communication. Retrieved on October 11, 2005 from:
- The Five Key Elements to Nonverbal Communication in Business. Retrieved on October 11, 2005 from: