Even though the importance of non-verbal communication has grown rapidly over the last few decades and it is now widely used in media, business, interpersonal relationships, education and politics many people still pay little attention to non-verbal messages and body signals, concentrating mostly on words. It is one of the biggest misconceptions to think that what is being said is more important than how it is being said.
I am sure that you have heard the expression, a€?Their actions speak louder than wordsa€? before. As words have limitations, non-verbal communication is more effective in situations where a person has to explain shapes, directions, inner feelings and personalities.
If a message is too emotional or too complex a separate non-verbal communication channel is needed to transmit this message correctly.
Non-verbal communication helps to clarify misunderstanding and avoid possible communication barriers.
Non-verbal communication is not just body language, gestures or facial expressions as many people mistakenly think.
Body language is one of the most important and complicated parts of non-verbal communication. Such physical contacts as embracing, pushing, grabbing, holding another person on the shoulder, patting on the back, ruffling thier hair may reflect elements of intimacy, lack of attraction, patronizing or gentleness. The meaning of touch depends highly on the situation, sex, age, culture and your character. The more we get to know the person and the more we like them, the closer we permit them into our personal space. Vertical distance often indicates a degree of dominance and subordinance in the relationship.
Kinetics (or a study of body movements in space) helps a person to transmit information as well as affecting the feelings of the person doing the moving. Usually people with a more relaxed posture, an open arm and body position and the body leaning slightly forward in the conversation are perceived as more likable, attentive and trustful. In business communication it is very important to remember that various cultures have different perception of time. People we find attractive are perceived as more credible, sociable, successful, interesting, sensitive, kind and popular. Paralanguage is a non-verbal element of communication that includes rate (speed), pitch (highness or lowness of voice), volume (loudness), and enunciation of vocal speech. A persona€™s character, emotional condition and ability to get a message correctly to a receiver can be revealed by vocal cues. Experimental findings suggest that people tend to listen more attentively to men with deep, low voices and resonant tones as these vocal cues are associated with strength, sexiness and self-confidence. High pitch voices are associated with rage, nervousness and helplessness, while despair and depression is often vocalized by a lower pitch and slower word pace.

Silence is also viewed as a part of non-verbal communication that depending on the situation and usage can influence conversation in a positive or negative way.
By learning to observe and understand the non-verbal communication process, you can noticeably improve your communication and persuasion skills. Many companies conducting international business may most likely lack non-verbal intercultural communicational skills because this important part is never properly addressed or taught to employees. Friendship is among the most fundamental of human needs, and nothing is going to change this.
In reality only 7% of information is sent through words, the remaining 93% of communication is non-verbal. Try to convince or motivate another person into doing a certain task while keeping your face expression, gestures and tone of voice unanimated.
It also includes eye contact, touch, spatial distance between two or more people or positioning within a group, kinesics or body movements, appearance, smell, tone of voice and even silence! Although many books have been written on this topic, body language is still hard to decode, because it must be interpreted in the context of a persona€™s lifestyle, cultural background, family, education, physical health, and other factors that may be obscure. One of the most frequently observed is hand movements, as people often gesticulate with their hands while talking.
Facial expression continually change during interaction and should be constantly monitored by the recipient. In many cultures it is believed, that even if you can control your facial expressions and body movements, eyes can never lie. In interpersonal relationships looking away is often perceived as deviousness and avoidance, while gaze holding, decreased blinking rate and dilated eye pupils show our interest in a partner. If used improperly it can become a cause of aggravation, communication barriers and mistrust.
Horizontal distance determines the distance, which people intuitively feel comfortable with when approaching other and having others approach them. This zone is reserved for interactions with good friends, when discussing personal and casual matters. This is an appropriate distance for impersonal, social gatherings and business communication. The higher the status, the more control the person has over his time.A  For example, a boss can talk to an employee whenever he chooses to do so, while the employee has to make an appointment to see the boss. Clothes, makeup, accessories, hairstyle, choice of colors and uniforms usually offer signals relating to persona€™s individuality, status, wealth, occupation and even attractiveness. However you have to remember that forming stereotypes based on other peoplea€™s physical characteristics and attractiveness may lead to false assumptions and communication barriers. People who speak very loud are often perceived by others as aggressive, overbearing and uncompromising.

For example, a phrase, a€?Great joba€? can either mean a sincere praise or if intoned sarcastically, it has the opposite meaning. On one hand silence may create tension and uneasiness, while on the other it may give another person time to collect his thoughts and calm down.
You will be able to immediately identify what another person really thinks and change their point of view if necessary. This can form a barrier, and miscommunication when conducting international business which can lead to failed cooperation and loses in revenue.
If you fail to read and de-code non-verbal messages you set yourself up for constant misunderstandings and various communication problems.
This is why in business cultures a fair degree of eye contact is viewed as a sign of a persona€™s openness, honesty and trust.
In South America or Arabian countries people believe that they have a€?all the time in the worlda€? and the word a€?deadlinea€? does not exist in their language. For both men and women body smell is one of the most important subconscious factors of choosing a life mate. Silence can also be an indicator of agreement or disagreement, depending on other non-verbal aspects such as facial expression, body language or eye contact.
This is especially true in intercultural communication where large parts of verbal and written messages can be lost in translation. In most interpersonal relationships touching can (arm pat) expresse tenderness, give encouragement and show emotional support. Violation of a€?our territorya€?, depending on the seriousness may provoke such feelings as discomfort, irritation, anxiety and even anger and aggression.
During interaction body odor or too much perfume can make even the most attractive person seem repulsive.
Therefore it is at the utmost importance that companies and employees who conduct international business are made aware of the most important non verbal cultural differences in communication in order to insure a better understanding. It serves as a perfect a€?excusea€™ for the times when you dona€™t feel like chatting with passengers in your car. Knowledge of NVC will be able to be applied immediately during overseas assignments and international business meetings.
The understanding of how to apply the skills of cultural understanding will help employees and businesses become more internationally successful.But which non-verbal communication is important when conducting international business?

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