I chose two journal articles for the topic of nonverbal communication within a professional setting.

The first article is:

Fatt, J. (1998). Nonverbal communication and business success. Management Research News, 21(4/5), 1-10.

The abstract I wrote is below:

The author provides a framework for analysis of nonverbal communication within different professional situations. The importance of nonverbal communication is also discussed. Metalanguage, paralanguage and body motion behaviors are described using definitions and pragmatic examples. Ten different body motion behaviors are defined.

  • Emblems are nonverbal actions that correlate to a verbal equivalent such as a circular hand motion to gesture"come here."
  • Illustrators are similar to emblems but not as clear and so often occur with speech. For example, a hand wave may mean "hello" or "goodbye."
  • Affect displays are facial movements that project an emotion such as a frown.
  • Regulators are the actions that convey a persons participation in a communication such as head nodding. Regulators may also be a display of the receivers interest in shortening or lengthening the communication.
  • Adaptors include changes in the posture of a sender or receiver. For instance, a communicator may cross his/her arms and thereby convey a particular meaning.
  • Physical characteristics involve nonverbal cues unrelated to actions such as a hairstyle or a scent.
  • Touching Behaviors involve physical contact between individuals that happen most typically at initiating or ending an interaction. Handshakes, hugs and kissing on the cheek are all examples of touching behaviors.
  • Proxemics is the way in which personal space is part of nonverbal communication. A person may lean in to explain a secret plan or may step back if receiving aggressive overtones from a sender.

The author also explains ways nonverbal communication can be monitored and used to increase the effectiveness of business communication. "Getting Feedback" is one way business communication may be enhanced because it involves activities such as matching the responses of another person which may put the other person more at ease. Nonverbals may also be monitored by an individual to prevent the revealing of information. The article also illustrates how understanding nonverbal communication can be particularly effective in a sales interaction. A sales person who can understand nonverbal cues may be able to determine if a customer is in a hurry or is questioning the validity of a promotional claim. Nonverbal cues also are important in negotiations that take place in business setting because they can convey the status of negotiators and the interpersonal relationships between the other individuals on the alternate side of a negotiation.

An additional topic of interest within the article is the commentary on gender differences related to nonverbal communication. For instance, the article notes that women may be more "intuitive about subtle cues in body language."