Description: Nonverbal Immediacy is a term used among communication researchers to describe nonverbal behaviors that communicate liking, a positive evaluation of others, or positive affect to others. These behaviors typically include looking toward someone, leaning toward someone, touching someone in a non-threatening manner, sitting near someone, smiling, and speaking in an animated way.
Why It Matters: Research demonstrates that the more a communicator employs immediate behavior, the more others will like, evaluate highly, and prefer that communicator. Nonverbal immediacy is also positively correlated with perceptions of communicator competence, goodwill, and trustworthiness (all components of credibility).
The Coaching Point: In organizational settings, there are two coaching points related to nonverbal immediacy. The most obvious is for presenters: those who display immediate behaviors will be viewed by their audience with greater affinity and credibility. The less obvious coaching point is for supervisors: recent research demonstrates that supervisors who communicate with nonverbal immediacy are not only seen with greater affinity and credibility--they produce in their subordinates greater motivation and job satisfaction as well.