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In many cases, nonverbal feedback can convey messages to us even more strongly than verbal speech can. This is because it can be so much harder to use body language to mislead people than it is with spoken words.
When we speak to people, it is easy for us to say things that we really do not mean. This is particularly true if we have time to rehearse what we are going to say or if we say untrue things on a consistent basis. A good example of this in the business world would be the things that a customer service representative says to us. If we go into a store to complain, we can be sure that the person to whom we are complaining has heard our complaint before. It is even likely that the store has a set policy for how to respond to complaints like ours. Therefore, we cannot tell much about the person’s true response to us by their words.
But body language is much harder to fake. The customer who is complaining will watch the customer service representative and will probably be able to get much stronger feedback in that way. If, for example, the representative constantly looks down at their hands or if they lean away from the customer, it can be quite clear that they do not want to deal with the customer and are just repeating their script without caring about the customer.
For these reasons, nonverbal communication can give us much stronger feedback than verbal communication and firms should train staff to be careful with their nonverbal communications.
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