Non Verbal Cues and its Importance in Group Discussion

This is a well-established fact that communication is very important in today’s competitive world and surroundings. Before we understand what are non-verbal cues or prompts, we need to know what verbal and non-verbal mode of communication is.

Verbal Communication: As we know that when we express our thoughts and feelings through words, it is called verbal communication. Verbal communication can include various languages. Through our verbal communication, we tend to inform others about a scenario or a topic or just simply need to send a message.

Non-verbal Communication: This means of communication may include facial expression, body language, sitting posture and eye contact, etc. But this mode of communication can be little tricky. If it is misunderstood, it can be disastrous. Hence, it is essential to use this mode of communication sensibly.

Now that we understood what verbal and non-verbal communication is and what is the primary difference between both let’s see the importance and need of non-verbal cues and its significance.

The Importance of Non-Verbal Cues in a Group discussion

It shows agreement/disagreement: Not only through your words you can show your agreement or disagreement to a particular point, your body language and non-verbal expressions also has the power to demonstrate it. Nodding of the head, waving of hands and the movement of your face can tell clearly whether you are agreeing to some point or not.

Affirmation: Remember that you are not the only one during the group discussion to speak. There are other people as well who are there to put forth their points. A simple nod of the head shows that you are validating or approving someone’s point.

Hand Movements/Gestures: Suppose someone is giving a presentation, but his hands are pulled behind tightly and closed. How would it look like? It will seem as if he has just gobbled all the information and throwing it out. Will you feel interested in such presentation? Probably not. So, moderate hand movements and gestures will make others feel that you yourself are well aware of the topic that you are going to present.

Paying Attention: When you maintain an eye contact, it shows that you are listening to what the other person is saying. And when you do not maintain eye contact, it somehow shows your distracted mind during a group discussion, which may have a negative outcome. So, whether or not you are paying attention to the point will be visible through your body language itself.

Your Interest/Inclination: You believe it or not, but your body language speaks a lot whether you are taking a keen interest in the discussion or not. If you are crossing your arms or not maintaining proper eye contact or look here and there instead of paying attention to the discussion, this means you are not taking interest. So, check that.

Your Voice Tone/Pitch: This also sets the tone of the discussion in a right or wrong manner. I met some people whose normal voice seems like they are arguing with someone whereas some people may have a very feeble voice and you might find it difficult to listen to them properly. Your voice is also an important aspect as to how loud or how low your voice is.

Facial Expression: Our entire face is very expressive if we know how to utilize it in a correct way. All the feelings including sadness, happiness, anger, disgust, fear, panic – all are visible on our face only to an extent. Our face is capable of showing many feelings and emotions. So, your frowning and shrinking of eyebrows will show it all whether or not you are in support of the point.

Conveys Emotions: Though there should be no place for emotional eruption during a group discussion, the non-verbal mode of communication conveys a lot about your emotions. For example, shrinking nose, raising eyebrows, yawning, rolling eyes, deep sigh, folded or open arms - all these non-verbal communications tell a great deal about your present mental/emotional condition.

A Mix of Verbal and Non-verbal Communication: During a group discussion, there cannot be just one kind of communication going on. There will be an amalgam of verbal as well as non-verbal communication which may include facial expression, eye behavior, gestures, voice and tone, movement of head or nodding, the pitch of the voice and overall physical appearance.

Here, this also needs to be kept in mind that non-verbal cues can also be misinterpreted at times as they have no fixed meanings attached to it. It varies from person to person, culture to culture and context to context. But if you can notice them, it can add to your advantage during a group discussion. Right kind of non-verbal cues can set your first impression very right and in your favour. It helps in understanding our customer’s behavior, their mindset, and their inclination.

During the group discussion, if you correctly show or understand the non-verbal cues, you can build great rapport with your fellow and the entire discussion can go smooth. Like smiling gently, in the beginning, can increase sociability and affinity with other members.

When there is a right mix of verbal and non-verbal communication, understanding of the message gets better. This institutes a better perspective towards what is being said. If you are preparing for a group discussion or interview, it is essential to check and practice before you appear for the same.

The mirror can be a great help to check and reform your body language. Firstly you have to identify the non-verbal signal you send out during a discussion, and then you can re-organize, re-define and rehearse for the correct body language. This comes in handy when you appear for any interview.

Recruiters pay a lot of attention towards your body language. The moment you enter the interview hall, your way of walking, sitting, smiling face and a firm handshake can tell a lot about you and can help put the foundation of your first great impression.

It is also imperative to determine whether your verbal communication and non-verbal cues are in sync. Not only your communication but your posture will tell whether you are confident enough or not. So, your speaking and body language should complement each other.

❮❮   Previous Next   ❯❯

Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written and Reviewed by Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to and the content page url.

Career Development