According to scientists, more than a half of our communication is nonverbal. Gestures such as facial expressions, hairstyle and clothes can tell more about you than what you are saying. It is very important to remember about it and to be able to keep it under control. Nonverbal communication has significant importance in the recruitment world as well. You may be a good specialist and have a lot of experience but simple lack of eye contact or inappropriate gestures can result into a refusal from an employer. To make it easier, nonverbal communication is divided into eight main groups.
1. Facial Expression
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Consider how much information can be conveyed with a smile or a frown. While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger and fear are similar throughout the world.
Gestures vary from culture to culture. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. It means that these gestures are understood and accepted by any cultures. For example, to beckon with the index finger means “Come here” in the U.S. However, to motion with the index finger to call someone over is deemed incredibly insulting or even obscene in many other cultures. Expect a negative reaction when you beckon to a student from the Middle or Far East, Portugal, Spain, Latin America, Japan, Indonesia and Hong Kong. It is more acceptable to beckon with the palm down, with fingers or whole hand waving.
3. Para Linguistics
Para linguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from the actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.
4. Body Language and Posture
Posture and movement can also convey a great deal of information. While these nonverbal behaviors can indicate feelings and attitudes, research suggests that body language is far more subtle and less definitive that previously believed.
People often refer to their need for "personal space," which is also an important type of nonverbal communication. The amount of distance we need and the amount of space we perceive as belonging to us is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, situational factors, personality characteristics and level of familiarity. For example, the amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to four feet. On the other hand, the personal distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.
6. Eye Contact
Looking, staring and blinking can also be important nonverbal behaviors. When people encounter people or things that they like, the rate of blinking increases and pupils dilate. Looking at another person can indicate a range of emotions, including hostility, interest and attraction.
Communicating through touch is another important nonverbal behavior. Touch can be used to communicate affection, familiarity, sympathy and other emotions. You have to be very careful with this type of nonverbal communication. For example, Russians wouldn´t be very happy to be hugged by emotional Latin Americans during a business meeting and it would create a misunderstanding rather than a warm atmosphere.
Our choice of color, clothing, hairstyles and other factors affecting appearance are also considered a means of nonverbal communication. Appearance can also alter physiological reactions, judgments and interpretations. Just think of all the subtle judgments you quickly make about someone based on his or her appearance. These first impressions are important, which is why experts suggest that job seekers dress appropriately for interviews with potential employers.