Sample Paper on Non-Verbal Communication Issues and Solutions

Problem Statement

Effective communication is one of the key features of successful relationships, both in the work place and in the social set up. Consequently, managers who have perfected the art have significantly better performing subjects compared to those who are yet to achieve perfection in communication (Henman, n.d). Verbal communication is one common and essential way of passing information that has been used over time with exceptionally good results. However, it also has its challenges, which have resulted in complication of issues several times. One of the major limitations of verbal communication is in its ineffectiveness in case of a language barrier. Another similarly potent limitation lies in the ability of the recipient to distort information or to forget since it the message is seldom recorded when passed verbally.

In order to down play the limitations of verbal communication, non-verbal communication is often used in various set ups from the work place to the home set up. Non-verbal communication has proven suitable over the years, with ability to provide essential information that cannot be passed verbally such as emotions. It is a form of communication that is often used by the listener to beat the pretenses of the spoken word (Henman, n.d). However, this mode of communication also has its challenges. The challenges involved in non-verbal communications include inconsistencies between the spoken message and the non-verbal reflections where the two modes of communication are used together. There is also the risk of misinterpretation and lack of clarity where only non-verbal communication is used (Lisa, 2014).

The issue of contention in this paper is to propose and analyze the alternative methods of dealing with the shortcomings of non-verbal communication so as to enhance its effectiveness both in the work place and in the home.

Overview of alternatives

The importance of communication in life is too immense to be ignored. Whether in the work place or at home, communication is mandatory. The importance of communication has led to the development of several modes of passing information, with most of the currently used modes being non-verbal. It is to such an extent that the fastest methods of passing undistorted information is always sought, leading to further technological advancements in the form of information handling systems. Consequently, handling the limitations of non-verbal communication will go a long way in enhancing communications both within and between various functions in the work place and in the homes. In order to achieve this resolution, this paper provides several alternatives that can be used to correct the limitations of non-verbal communication. The non-verbal communication refers to technological strategies such as e-mails where applicable and to body language where communicated (Dixon & O’Hara, n.d).

The first alternative to curbing issues related to non-verbal communication would be to encourage the use of written or reproducible non-verbal strategies in passing essential information that may require future recalling. This includes the use of e-mails and letters/ memo to different departments or individuals (Conrad, 2014). This will help to avoid misinterpretations while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls associated with verbal communication. In addition to this, it will also enable ease of referral. For instance, in case a piece of information that was initially passed is required at a later date, it can be provided without alteration. It ensures that the information available is complete at all times and that it is not distorted in any way. This strategy also reduces the chances of communication breakdown. The only hindrance to the use of this alternative could lie in its inability to effectively reduce errors associated with lack of precision in the communications made.

Secondly, a combination of both verbal and non-verbal communication could be used to deal with issues of precision and clarity. For instance, when using e-mail messages to convey instructional information, it would be recommended to follow up by confirming comprehension. Also, the recipient of the message may contact the sender verbally to receive clarification of any contentious issues. The purpose of this alternative would be to capitalize on the strengths of both communication strategies without having to deal with the limitations of each. Non-verbal communication is beneficial in dealing with issues such as language barriers, and avoiding misquotations while the verbal communication is instrumental in preventing possible misinterpretations that may arise due to the use of non-verbal communication alone.

It would also help to restrict the use of non-verbal communication to certain contexts and not others. For instance, in an industrial set up, it would be necessary to relay information about an issue requiring immediate attention verbally to the relevant authority. The advantage of this is that it enables the use of non-verbal communication without the possibility of misinterpretation as well as inconsistency. The purpose of the follow up is not to relay information, but rather to confirm the reception of the relayed information.

The last and most powerful method of resolving the issues limiting the effectiveness of non-verbal communication is to form standard cues for communication, especially in the industrial work places. It is particularly suitable for the industrial work places because the latter are characterized by high levels of noise that hinder effective verbal communication. This method is effective as it is aimed towards addressing issues that arise particularly with the use of body language as non-verbal cues.

Criteria

For the successful implementation of any of the suggested alternatives for effective communications through the use of non-verbal strategies, it is necessary that the best alternative be selected for the given time and context. To do this, the factors that have to be considered include:

  • Suitability of the strategy to passing the information
  • The context in which the communication is to be made
  • The relevance of the method to the place of application
  • The cost of implementation versus the losses that may arise due to miscommunication
  • The time available for the information to be passed
  • The adaptability of the method to the place of application

The most effective alternative will be one that is most suitable for passing the information required, whose application is relevant to the situation at hand and is also most adaptable. The alternative of choice must also be the most cost effective with regards to the potential losses that may result from miscommunication. In considering the time available prior to taking action, the mode of communication that gives a sufficient time allowance between the reception of the message and the expected action time should be selected. For instance, in an emergency, it would be unreasonable to send an email. The adaptability of the method is also related to its acceptability by the supposed users.

Methods

The study carried out will be a secondary study in which relevant literature is reviewed to find the required information. The information obtained will then be analyzed to come to a conclusion on the effectiveness of the proposed alternatives. Given the possible benefits of each of these alternatives, this study recommends the use of all the alternatives interchangeably depending on the situation at hand. This calls for a thorough analysis of the situation prior to making any communicative move.

Evaluation of alternatives

In every organization, communication is considered a pillar of sustainable development and resources are constantly being streamlined towards the achievement of any communication goals set ahead of the organization. Consequently the importance of effective communication modes cannot be ignored.

In evaluating the first alternative, the first factor that is considered is its suitability to the situation at hand. Essential information that needs to be passed could be instructions, reminders, notices e.t.c. Such information can easily be forgotten if passed verbally. The use of written and/ or recordable non verbal communication strategies is therefore suitable for achieving the desired communication purpose. In addition to this, such information that may need future reference is commonly found in work places hence this method is applicable to work places. It may not be suitable in a home set up. Consequently, this method of communication can be said to be relevant to the work place environment but irrelevant to the home environment.

In considering the context of communication, general communications such as those carried out during meetings may not require additional written deliveries, since each person takes notes at the meetings. The method requires substantial amounts of time since it is impossible to predict when the recipient would get access to the communication hence the method is not suitable for emergency situations. However, it is easy to get used to and easy to apply hence is adaptable to whatever work place environment it is implemented.

The second alternative which involves reinforcing the non-verbal communication strategies with verbal communication is also evaluated on the basis of the stated criteria. In most cases, it is necessary to incorporate non-verbal communication cues in the course of verbal communication or vice versa. In using body language, non-verbal cues form a very good basis for determining the genuineness of the emotions portrayed through verbal communication. It is a method that can be used both with body language and with technological non-verbal communication. Consequently the suitability of the second alternative to various environments gives it higher applicability levels compared to the other alternatives. In addition to this, it is also timely, particularly where the said non-verbal cues refer to body language hence can be used in a variety of situations i.e. both emergency and non emergency set upside also offers a chance to keep records while still getting the advantage that comes with the use of verbal communication skills. Besides this, it is also cost effective and adaptable to various environments of work. It is most applicable to communication where an action is required of the recipient in a specified period of time, and where the information provided non-verbally is limited.

The third alternative involves the restriction of the use of non-verbal cues for communication. Although this may deny people their right to communicate effectively it is another possible method of doing away with the events of misinterpretation of information besides other. This alternative refers to the use of non-verbal modes of communication that are different from gestures and any other forms of body language. It is in reference to the e-mail communications, letters and other technologically advanced forms of non-verbal communication. The method is suitable for use in the home set up where physical proximity may necessitate the use of verbal communication most of the time. While there is no written law against the use of non-verbal communications, the closeness between family members, both physically and emotionally causes them to engage more in verbal communication.

The context of communication in this scenario favors the application of this third alternative. In addition to this, the alternative is also adaptable to the home communication since it is easily acceptable as non-verbal communication is rarely used at home. Moreover, it leads to time saving for both the potential client and intended sender. Since the alternative is for use in the home set up, it is relevant to the context of the communications that take place within the home since the information passed is rarely ever needed at a later date and when it does, it is easily recalled since it is something does not require too much memorization. The cost aspects of this alternative are not debatable since it is clearly the cheapest alternative amongst the already discussed. Its only limitation is in the limited applicability.

 

The last alternative has its applicability to an industrial set up. In the industry, there might be noise which prevents the communication between staff. To pass essential information, it may be necessary to use body language. Without a common code for body language, it is difficult for understanding to be achieved. Consequently, this alternative finds suitability in the manufacturing as well as other noisy industries. The context of communication in which it is to be applied is that whereby there is a miscommunication due to interfering noises. At the same time, the losses that may occur due to any miscommunication issues are far greater than the cost incurred in training new employees on the industrial codes. Also, the use of body language codes is easily acceptable to workers in the industry as well as it is adaptable. The time required between communication and action is normally minimal hence the need for a quick response communication strategy. This alternative is very relevant to an industrial set up since it avoids the pitfalls of verbal communication while at the same time offering an alternative route for communication with precision and without the loop hole for possible misinterpretation.

Findings and Analysis

From the study carried out, it has been possible to identify the most beneficial alternative in carrying out effective non-verbal communication. It has been found out that the strategy of communication that is used depends largely on the scope of application. What works for one sector of the society may not necessarily work for the other. It is therefore important to consider the situation at hand prior to application of any of the suggested alternatives. This study thus suggests a flexible mindset which can allow for integration of a different mode of communication in the work force and at home at any given time without causing a hindrance to either effective verbal or non-verbal communication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Conrad, D. (2014). Workplace Communication Problems: Inquiries by Employees and Applicable Solutions. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4):107-116

Dixon, T., & O’Hara, M. (n.d). Communication Skills. practicebasedlearning.org

Henman, L. (n.d). It is not Always What you Say. Henman Performance Group.

Lisa, M. (2014). Five Common Non-verbial Communication Issues in the Work Place. http://EzineArticles.com