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There are many ways in which nonverbal feedback can send very powerful messages in the context of a business. To understand this, let us look at two examples.
First, we can imagine a person in a business who is trying to pitch an idea or express a concern to a superior. The superior’s body language while listening to the subordinate can give the subordinate very powerful messages about the superior’s attitude towards the ideas being expressed and towards the subordinate personally. If the superior fidgets or toys with things as the subordinate talks, for example, the subordinate will get a very strong message that his or her input is not valued. This sort of message can cause great harm to the person’s morale and his or her willingness to try to put forth suggestions in the future.
Second, we can imagine a superior who needs to correct a subordinate. If the superior leans into the subordinate’s personal space or jabs their finger aggressively towards the subordinate, a strong message of condemnation is sent. The subordinate feels abused and belittled. By contrast, if the superior stands or sits next to the subordinate (with sufficient space between them) and does not try to establish a dominant physical posture, the subordinate will likely feel much more as if the superior is genuinely trying to help them improve their performance.
In these ways and many others, nonverbal feedback can convey a powerful message in a business setting.
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