The Six Functions of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication has six functions, namely contradict, repeat, substitute, regulate, accent and complement. Contradiction is the first function of nonverbal communication. Contradiction leads to giving inconsistent messages to employees, which causes them to lose trust in the company’s direction. For example, a supervisor asking his employees to get psyched for the day with a casual attitude may affect employee productivity.

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The second nonverbal signal is repetition when a signal is transmitted to mimic a prior communication. Effective management ensures employees comprehend what is going on and highlights the message. For example, if a firm manager tells an employee how to do something, then shows them, they may do it better in the future. Regulating is a nonverbal communication function used when someone signals the other to slow down or halt in a conversation. This is vital to inefficient management because it ensures communication. For example, when two employees are working as a team, the supervisor may glance or even point to one of them.

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The next nonverbal communication signal is substitution, which occurs when the environment inhibits verbal communication (Burgoon et al., 2021).  For instance, businesses with noisy environments may need to use these signals to manage effectively. Another befitting example would be in a concert with loud music; security may provide signals instead of verbally communicating.

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The fourth nonverbal cue is an accent that helps focus on attention. This is critical in good management because it draws employees’ attention to potentially vital information. Excited by the company’s new developments, a supervisor would jump up and down, hand in the air. This excitement may inspire employees to take on new changes and challenges.

Lastly, a complement is a nonverbal cue that guides or supports what is stated. This nonverbal communication signal is essential in good management since it improves communication and trust between employees and management. For example, a supervisor greeting the staff with a pleasant grin and firm handshake may inspire employees to work for that person and trust them.

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