Chronemics is the study of the use of time in nonverbal communication. How we perceive time, structure our time and react to time is a powerful communication tool, and helps set the stage for the communication process. Across cultures, time perception plays a large role in the nonverbal communication process. Time perceptions include punctuality, willingness to wait, and interactions. The use of time can affect lifestyles, daily agendas, speed of speech, movements and how long people are willing to listen.
Mike McGlinn, a senior vice president at The Northern Trust and adviser extraordinaire (see May 22, 2008, entry on biting your tongue), and I were talking about his important guidelines for leading teams. One guideline is stressing the importance of starting and ending meetings on time – punctuality overall. I agree and see this as a sign of respect for the time of the other people participating in the meeting. Does that mean Mike and I are monochronics?
Monochronic and Polychronic time systems are two systems commonly used to reference time and its influence on society.
The statement “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” holds true with chronemics if you are undergoing an organization change or transformation, forming a new team, merging companies, working with a global team etc. Assess the situation and respond accordingly:
Adapted from Wikipedia