MM Nonverbal (Nonverbal Communication Conveys Important Interpersonal and…
Nonverbal Communication Conveys Important Interpersonal and Emotional Messages
if a classmate delivers a speech in class and her verbal content seems well-researched and unbiased, but her nonverbal communication is poor (her voice is monotone, she avoids eye contact, she fidgets)
Nonverbal Communication Is More Involuntary than Verbal
Have you ever tried to conceal a surprise? While we can consciously decide to stop sending verbal messages, our nonverbal communication always has the potential of generating meaning for another person.
Nonverbal Communication Is More Ambiguous
As with verbal communication, most of our nonverbal signals can be linked to multiple meanings, but unlike words, many nonverbal signals do not have any one specific meaning.
Nonverbal Communication Is More Credible
the involuntary or subconscious nature of nonverbal communication makes it less easy to fake, which makes it seem more honest and credible.
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
A primary function of nonverbal communication is to convey meaning by reinforcing, substituting for, or contradicting verbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is also used to influence others and regulate conversational flow.
Perhaps even more important are the ways in which nonverbal communication functions as a central part of relational communication and identity expression.
, or messages in which verbal and nonverbal signals contradict each other. For example, a person may say, “You can’t do anything right!” in a mean tone but follow that up with a wink, which could indicate the person is teasing or joking.
Nonverbal Communication Conveys Meaning
Gestures also reinforce basic meaning—for example, pointing to the door when you tell someone to leave. Facial expressions reinforce the emotional states we convey through verbal communication.
Nonverbal Communication Influences Others
people engage in competition and strategically change their communication to influence others, making it important to be aware of how we nonverbally influence others and how they may try to influence us.
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
are nonverbal cues that communicate intimacy and signal the connection between two people.
are 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.
Touch and facial expressions are two primary ways we
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.
are the objects and possessions that surround us. They also communicate our identities.
is a process of generating meaning using behavior other than words.
Nonverbal communication tends to do the work of communicating emotions more than verbal.
Nonverbal communication can be taken in by all five of our senses.
is the vocalized but not verbal part of a spoken message, such as speaking rate, volume, and pitch.
Nonvocal elements of nonverbal communication include body language such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. (ASL)
Nonverbal communication is primarily biologically based while verbal communication is primarily culturally based.
Principles and Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Types of Nonverbal Communication
comes from the root word kinesis, which means “movement,” and refers to the study of hand, arm, body, and face movements.
are touching behaviors and movements that indicate internal states typically related to arousal or anxiety. (clicking pens, shaking legs)
are gestures that have a specific agreed-on meaning. (A thumbs up can mean OK or "I need a ride")
are the most common type of gesture and are used to illustrate the verbal message they accompany. For example, you might use hand gestures to indicate the size or shape of an object.
Head Movements and Posture
a head up typically indicates an engaged or neutral attitude, a head tilt indicates interest and is an innate submission gesture that exposes the neck and subconsciously makes people feel more trusting of us, and a head down signals a negative or aggressive attitude. When we stand with our hands on our hips, that shows assertiveness.
Regulates interaction and provide turn-taking signals
Monitors communication by receiving nonverbal communication
Establishes rapport or connection
can communicate that a speaker is tired, excited, angry, confused, frustrated, sad, confident, smug, shy, or bored.
refers to the study of communication by touch.
There are several types of touch, including functional-professional, social-polite, friendship-warmth, love-intimacy, and sexual-arousal touch.
At the social-polite level, socially sanctioned touching behaviors help initiate interactions and show that others are included and respected. A handshake, a pat on the arm, and a pat on the shoulder are examples of social-polite touching.
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.
Pitch helps convey meaning, regulate conversational flow, and communicate the intensity of a message.
Speaking rate refers to how fast or slow a person speaks and can lead others to form impressions about our emotional state, credibility, and intelligence.
Verbal fillers are sounds that fill gaps in our speech as we think about what to say next.
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refers to the study of how space and distance influence communication.
For example, when we are content with and attracted to someone, we say we are “close” to him or her. When we lose connection with someone, we may say he or she is “distant.”
In general, space influences how people communicate and behave. Smaller spaces with a higher density of people often lead to breaches of our personal space bubbles.
Public space = 12 ft or more
Social space = 4-12 ft
Personal space = 1.5-4 ft
Intimate space = 0 in-1.5 ft
is an innate drive to take up and defend spaces.
Chronemics refers to the study of how time affects communication.
Personal time refers to the ways in which individuals experience time. The way we experience time varies based on our mood, our interest level, and other factors.
Physical time refers to the fixed cycles of days, years, and seasons. Physical time, especially seasons, can affect our mood and psychological states.
Cultural time refers to how a large group of people view time.
The way we use time depends in some ways on our status. For example, doctors can make their patients wait for extended periods of time, and executives and celebrities may run consistently behind schedule, making others wait for them.
Nonverbal Communication Competence
refers to consistency among different nonverbal expressions within a cluster.
refers to the often subconscious practice of using nonverbal cues in a way that match those of others around us.
refers to nonverbal behaviors that occur as we try to control the cognitive and physical changes that happen during states of cognitive and physical arousal
leads us to believe that a person is telling the truth, especially if we know and like that person.
We learn to decode or interpret nonverbal messages through practice and by internalizing social norms. Following the suggestions to become a better encoder of nonverbal communication will lead to better decoding competence through increased awareness.
The first guideline for decoding nonverbal communication is to realize that there is no nonverbal dictionary.
The second guideline for decoding nonverbal signals is to recognize that certain nonverbal signals are related.
One concept that intrigued me was immediacy behaviors. Immediacy behaviors are verbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators. I found it interesting that these behaviors can impact student-teacher relationships. We make assumptions about teachers based on their non-verbal behaviors such as head nodding and their strong/weak gestures. Students may find their professors likable/unlikeable, supportive/unsupportive, confident/insecure, etc. just by their immediacy behavior. That just goes to show how relevant it is in our everyday lives.