Nonverbal Communication (Types of Nonverbal Communication (Vocalics:…
Nonverbal Communication is a process of generating meaning using behavior other than words
Although nonverbal and verbal communication
operate side by side
, they have important differences
e.g. how the brain processes them: right - nonverbal communication, left - verbal communication
The content and composition of verbal and nonverbal communication also differs.
e.g. there are rules of grammar that structure our verbal communication while there are no such official guides govern our use of nonverbal signals.
Principles and Functions of Nonverbal Communication
can be taken in by all five senses
of verbal communication is spoken words while a vocal element of nonverbal communication is paralanguage, which is the vocalized but not verbal part of a spoken message, such as speaking rate, volume, and pitch
of verbal communication include the use of unspoken symbols to convey meanings (e.g.writing and American Sign Language). Nonvocal elements of nonverbal communication include body language such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact.
Principles of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Communication Conveys Important Interpersonal and Emotional Messages
More meaning is generated from nonverbal communication than from verbal
e.g. when someone asks a question and we're not sure about the "angle" they are taking, we may hone in on nonverbal cues to fill in the meaning.
We put more weight on nonverbal communication when determining a person's credibility
e.g. if a classmate delivers a speech in class and her verbal content seems well-researched and unbiased, but her nonverbal communication is poor (no eye-contact, monotone and fidgets) she will likely not be viewed as credible
Nonverbal Communication Is More Involuntary than Verbal
The involuntary nature of much nonverbal communication makes it more difficult to control or "fake"
e.g. you can consciously smile a little and shake hand with someone when you first see them, it's difficult to fake that you're "happy" to meet someone
Nonverbal communication leaks out in ways that expose our underlying thoughts or feelings
e.g. lawyers and public representatives who are the "face" of someone important must learn to control their facial expressions and other nonverbal communication so they can effectively convey the message of their employer or client without having their personal thoughts and feelings leak through
Nonverbal Communication Is More Ambiguous
nonverbal signals do not have any one specific meaning
We can look for context clues to make sense of a particular nonverbal cue
we implicitly learn norms of nonverbal communication, which leads to greater variance
we exhibit more idiosyncrasies (peculiar behavior) in our usage of nonverbal communication than we do with verbal communication
Nonverbal Communication Is More Credible
we often put more trust into what people do over what they say
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Communication Conveys Meaning
by reinforcing substituting for, or contradicting verbal communication
In terms of reinforcing verbal communication, gestures can help describe a space or shape that another person is unfamiliar with in ways that words alone cannot. Gestures also reinforce basic meanings (e.g. pointing to the door when you tell someone to leave)
Facial expressions reinforce the emotional states we convey through verbal communication
Vocal variations can help us emphasize a particular part of a message, which helps reinforce a word or sentence's meaning
Nonverbal communication can convey much meaning when verbal communication isn't effective because of language barriers. Language barriers are present when a person hasn't yet learned to speak or loses the ability to speak.
Nonverbal communication is also useful in a quiet situation were verbal communication would be disturbing
Crowded or loud places can also impede verbal communication and lead people to rely more on nonverbal messages
There are times when we know it's better not to say something aloud
Can convey meaning by contradicting verbal communication
Mixed messages lead to uncertainty and confusion on the part of receivers, which leads us to look for more information to try to determine which message is more credible.
Nonverbal Communication Influences Others
Deception: intentional act of altering information to influence another person, it extends beyond lying to include concealing, omitting, or exaggerating information.
Nonverbal communication partners with the language through deceptive acts to be more convincing
We can use nonverbal communication to "take the edge off" a critical or unpleasant message in an attempt to influence the reaction of the other person. We can also use eye contact and proximity to get someone to move or leave an area.
Nonverbal Communication Regulates Conversational Flow
Nonverbal communication helps us regulate our conversations so we don't end up constantly interrupting each other or waiting in awkward silences between speaker turns
Nonverbal Communication Affects Relationships
The nonverbal messages we send and receive influence our relationships in positive and negative ways and can work to bring people together or push them apart.
Immediacy Behaviors: verbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators and include things like smiling, nodding, making eye contact, and occasionally engaging in social, polite, or professional touch.
Expressions of Emotions
Tie Signs: nonverbal cues that communicate intimacy and signal the connection between two people
Nonverbal Communication Expresses Our Identities
Our identities are conveyed nonverbally through the way we set up our living and working spaces, the clothes we wear, the way we carry ourselves, and the accents and tones of our voices.
Artifacts (objects and possessions that surround us)
Types of Nonverbal Communication
: "movement", and refers to the study of hand, arm, body, and face movements
: touching behaviors and movements that indicate internal states typically related to arousal or anxiety.
are gestures that have a specific agreed-on meaning
: used to illustrate the verbal message they accompany
Head Movements and Posture
standing, sitting, squatting, and lying down
a head nod
Eye contact serves several communicative functions ranging from regulating interaction to monitoring interaction, to conveying information, to establishing interpersonal connections
are powerful communicative signals and, as you'll recall, are a key immediacy behavior.
Facial expressions help set the
for a speech
: study of communication by touch
is necessary for human social development, and it can be welcoming, threatening, or persuasive
Several types of touch including functional-professional, social-polite, friendship-warmth, love-intimacy, and sexual-arousal touch
Touch is used in many contexts: during play (e.g. arm wrestling), during physical conflict (e.g. slapping), and during conversations (e.g. to get someone's attention)
: the crisscross hug, the neck-waist hug, and the engulfing hug
: Vocalics is the study of paralanguage, which includes the vocal qualities that go along with verbal messages, such as pitch, volume, rate, vocal quality, and verbal fillers
helps convey meaning, regulate conversational flow, and communicate the intensity of a message
Paralanguage provides important context for the verbal content of speech
. For example, volume helps communicate intensity
refers to how fast or slow a person speaks and can lead others to form impressions about our emotional state, credibility, and intelligence
tone of voice
can be controlled somewhat with pitch, volume, and emphasis, but each voice has a distinct quality known as a vocal signature.
are sounds that fill gaps in our speech as we think about what to say next e.g. "um"
repetition, complementing, accenting, substituting, regulating and contradicting
: refers to the study of how space and distance influence communication
(12 Feet or More): formal and not intimate
(4-12 Feet): in the context of a professional or casual interaction, but not intimate or public
(1.5-4 Feet): reserved for friends, close acquaintances, and significant others
: reserved for only the closest friends, family, and romantic/intimate partners
: is an innate drive to take up and defend spaces
: spaces that we claim to be ours - marked or understood to be exclusively ours and under our control (e.g. a person's house, room, desk, side of the bed)
: don't belong to us and aren't exclusively under our control, but they are associated with us (e.g. desk in class)
: are open to all people
: refers to the study of how time affects communication.
: refers to the rhythms of living things
: refers to the ways in which individuals experience time.Based on our mood, our interest level, and other factors.
: refers to the fixed cycles of days, years, and seasons
: refers to how a large group of people view time
Personal Presentation and Environment
: body shape, height, weight, attractiveness, and other physical features of our bodies
: The environment in which we interact affects our verbal and nonverbal communication. e.g. the placement of object and furniture in a physical space can help create a formal, distant, friendly, or intimate climate