Nonverbal communication in the organization
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Nonverbal Communication in the Organization. Nonverbal Communication: Definition and Principles. Nonverbal communication is all intentional and unintentional messages that are not written, spoken, or sounded.

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Nonverbal communication definition and principles
Nonverbal Communication: Definition and Principles

  • Nonverbal communication is all intentional and unintentional messages that are not written, spoken, or sounded.

  • One way to understand the relationship between culture and nonverbal messages is through the dimension of technical-formal-informal levels of culture.

    • Technical level- the rules are openly known and easily stated by most citizens of a particular culture.

    • Formal level- the rules for behavior are clearly stated, but the reasons for the rules are not.

    • Informal level- neither the rules for behavior nor the reason for the rules are taught

      • unconsciously learned by imitation (modeling ourselves after others).

Facial expressions and eye contact
Facial Expressions and Eye Contact

  • The face is responsible for most of the meaning in nonverbal messages.

    • The eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Eye contact:

      • shows interest and attentiveness

      • signals a wish to participate

      • controls and persuades others

  • Eye contact has different meanings in various cultures

Body movements and gestures
Body Movements and Gestures

  • Gestures and body movements can be divided into four categories

    • Emblems are intentional body movements and gestures that carry an exact meaning

      • ex. middle finger

    • Illustrators are intentional movements or gestures that add to or clarify verbal meaning

      • ex. pointing when giving directions

    • Regulators

      • control the flow of a conversation

        • ex. looking at watch during meeting

    • Adaptors

      • are habitual gestures and movements we use in times of stress

        • ex. popping knuckles

Clothing and personal appearance
Clothing and Personal Appearance

  • Clothing and appearance are used to determine status, credibility, and persuasiveness.

  • Today’s business dress ranges from traditional to casual and varies from company to company.

  • Clothing is important to an organization’s image.

    • Color and style of clothing affect appearance.

Distance and personal space
Distance and Personal Space

Types of distance

  • Intimate distance: from touching to 18 inches—reserved for private use

  • Personal distance: from 18 inches to 4 feet is used by close friends or colleagues as they eat lunch together or stand at coffeepot

  • Social distance: from 4 to 12 feet are used in most business transactions

  • Public distance: from 12 to 15 feet to farther is maintained between speakers and a large group of listeners.

Physical environment
Physical Environment

  • Physical environments reveal characteristics of the owner of the territory and affect how people communicate.

    • Color affects our emotional response and is a determining factor in whether an environment is judged as effective or not

    • Lighting and room size also affects communication.

    • Ergonomics, the science of mating machines to human requirements.

      • Poor ergonomics may result in backache, headache, and fatigue.


  • One way to understand the relationship between time and culture is to look at the time dimensions:

    • Monochromic (M-time) view time as a scarce resource which must be rationed and controlled through the use of schedules and appointments.

    • Polychromic (P-time) see the maintenance of harmonious relationships as the important thing, so that the use of time needs to be flexible in order that we do right by the various people to whom we have obligations.

Nonverbal status symbols
Nonverbal Status Symbols

  • Clothes

  • Location and Size of Office (interior arrangement)

  • Time—how it is handled