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The Power of Nonverbal Communication: Unlocking Success in the Corporate World

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • October 13, 2023

Nonverbal Communication in the workplace

Do you ever wonder why certain individuals rise in the ranks or quickly build great relationships within a corporate setting? It might come down to the power of nonverbal communication. Sure, verbal communication skills like active listening and eloquent speech have their place.

Still, when it comes to succeeding in the corporate world, often those who actively embrace and utilize nonverbal cues are the ones who reap success compared to others. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how cultivating an understanding of nonverbal communication skills in the workplace will open up a multitude of opportunities for growth within an organization.

What Is Nonverbal Communication?

Nonverbal communication is a powerful tool we use daily, but it’s often overlooked. It refers to all the ways we communicate without using words, including our facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, and body language.

These cues can reveal our emotions, attitudes, and intentions, and they can often speak louder than the words we choose. For example, crossing your arms might indicate defensiveness, while leaning forward and making eye contact can show interest and engagement.

Different Types of Nonverbal Communication in Business

Some examples of nonverbal communication in business include, but are not limited to:

  • Facial expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Posture
  • Gestures
  • Physical distance between people when speaking
  • Tone of voice
  • Touching (e.g., hand, arm, shoulder, etc.)
  • Clothing and physical appearance
  • Excessive silence or lack of silence during conversations
  • Paralanguage (e.g., vocal elements such as pitch, volume, rate etc.)

Why Is Nonverbal Communication Important in the Corporate World?

Nonverbal communication is a critical aspect of communication in the corporate world. Nonverbal cues play an indispensable role in various corporate settings, including meetings, presentations, and negotiations. They can reinforce or contradict our words, and they give us signals about what other people are thinking and feeling.

In the workplace, nonverbal communication can influence first impressions and perceptions of individuals and groups, shaping how they are viewed and treated. Moreover, positive nonverbal communication can foster teamwork, leadership, and effective client interactions, making it imperative for corporate professionals to master these business communication skills.

By paying attention to assertive nonverbal communication signals, employees and management can improve their interpersonal skills, become better communicators, and improve their relationships and interactions with others in the workplace.

How to Use Nonverbal Communication Effectively in the Corporate World

It’s essential to be aware of the different nonverbal cues we’re giving off, from maintaining eye contact during meetings to having proper posture when speaking to others. Here are some tips:

Be Mindful of Body Language

Body language is one of the most powerful nonverbal communication skills for executives. It can be used to show confidence, authority, and respect. To use body language effectively, you should stand up straight with your shoulders back and ensure your facial expressions match your words. Avoid crossing your arms or fidgeting, as these can be signs of discomfort or disinterest.

Maintain Eye Contact

Eye contact shows that you are engaged and interested in what someone else has to say. When talking to someone, make sure to maintain eye contact for at least 60% of the conversation. Avoiding eye contact can make it seem like you are not paying attention or are uninterested in the conversation.

Use Facial Expressions

Facial expressions are a great way to convey emotions without saying a word. Smiling is one of the most important facial expressions, as it can show enthusiasm and interest in what someone else has to say. Other facial expressions, such as furrowing your brows or nodding, can also be used to show agreement or understanding without having to speak out loud.

Control Your Tone of Voice

Your tone of voice conveys emotion and intent behind your words. A calm and steady tone shows confidence, while a soft and gentle tone conveys empathy and understanding. Ensure that your tone matches what you’re saying so that people know that you mean what you say and understand how you feel about it.

Adapt to Your Audience

When it comes to employee interpersonal skills, it’s important to adapt your body language and facial expressions based on who you’re talking to. For example, suppose you’re talking with a senior executive. In that case, using more formal body language, such as standing up straight and avoiding hand gestures, may be appropriate, whereas if you’re talking with a colleague, more casual body language, such as leaning forward or smiling, may be more appropriate.

Use Nonverbal Cues to Support Your Message

Nonverbal cues such as hand gestures or pointing can help emphasize certain points during a conversation. Additionally, using open-ended body language, such as holding out your hands and palms up, can help encourage people to share their thoughts or opinions on a topic, which helps create an open dialogue between everyone involved in the conversation.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening is an important people skill because it shows that you are genuinely interested in what someone else has to say instead of just waiting for them to finish so that you can talk. When actively listening, make sure that you maintain eye contact, nod occasionally, paraphrase what they have said, ask follow-up questions, and provide feedback when necessary.

How Our Customized Soft Skills Training Workshops Can Help Employees Improve Their Nonverbal Communication Skills

At The Soft Skill Group (TSSG), we recognize that effective business communication skills are essential to success in the workplace. That’s why we’ve developed customized soft skills training workshops that focus on improving employee interpersonal skills and nonverbal communication skills for executives.

Our workshops are designed to help employees recognize and understand the different types of nonverbal communication, from body language to tone of voice. We work with your organization to ensure that the training meets your specific needs so that your employees can develop the skills they need to communicate with confidence and clarity.

To learn more about our soft skills training for employees and how our nonverbal communication skills training can benefit your organization, contact us today for a free consultation.

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More