The Importance of Nonverbal Communication

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Importance of Nonverbal Communication in Leadership

The statement “Communication is a key” is applied daily by people referring to each and every topic that cuts across relationships, through to business. Communication comes in many forms, which vary from the spoken and written words to the commonly overlooked nonverbal cues. In life and business, every person will communicate in a different manner. Successful leaders, however, must learn to perfect these different forms of communication and be able to use them in the appropriate situations (Business Management and Leadership). The intent of this paper is to show the importance of nonverbal communication to be an effective leader. First of all, we must acknowledge the importance of verbal communication. Verbal communication encompasses the following forms: face-to-face, phone conversations, meetings, emails, text messages, blogs, websites, letters, reports and any other form of communication involving actual words. All of the fore mentioned are extremely important within the communication realm and desired for leaders to have superb skills just to be considered for promotion opportunities. “Research has shown that among people with two- or four-year degrees, workers in the top 20% of writing ability earn on average, more than three times as much as workers whose writings fall into the worst 20%” (Locker & Kienzler, 2010, p. 5). Oral and written communication skills will be used in everyday work life but the nonverbal forms of communication used along with those can either enhance the presentation or completely detract from them. Verbal communication is considered as a contingent to nonverbal communication; in order to gain success in leadership, one’s verbal and nonverbal communication should go hand in hand. Verbal and written communication training is necessary to learn how to effectively convey all forms of information. If the intended recipient does not understand the message several aspects of that business could suffer and end up paying millions for wasted time, manpower and effort (Francis). “The National Commission on Writing reported to Congress that states spend almost a quarter billion dollars annually on remedial writing

instruction for their employees, and that indirect costs of that poor writing—from the confusions and error caused---are probably even higher” (Locker & Kienzler, 2010). In order to understand the effects of nonverbal communication in leadership, one should first understand its meaning. Nonverbal communication includes but is not limited to: body language, gestures, tonal variations, facial expressions, posture, attire and spatial relationship. In the process of communicating, every individual, whether knowingly or unknowingly, uses some combination of these nonverbal cues. There exist a logical and an inherent section of communication tendencies (Locker & Kienzler, 2010). Body language is read during interactions as a guide and can give insight into an individuals’ self-confidence, attitude and mind state. Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman, author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help or Hurt How You Lead,” believes there are three predictions that link the future of effective leadership with nonverbal communication. The first prediction is that with new technology, like videoconferencing, people will be forced to step into the new century of bonding and focus on body language, appearance and enhancing their nonverbal skills to make the most of the new opportunities. The second prediction is that future leaders will learn to project more “warmth”. She states that for effective leadership and relationship-building, body language needs to emit “trust, inclusion and empathy” versus the image of power and authority. Prediction three covers the realization of body language revealing the true character of a person. Over time, the understanding of the negative impact that...
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