Nonverbal Communication (Functions of Nonverbal Communication…
Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Behavior has Communication Value
The fact that you and everyone around you are constantly sending nonverbal clues is important because it means that you have a constant source of informa- tion available about yourselfand others.
Nonverbal Communication is Primarily Relational
Nonverbal cues help us manage our identities. [For example, what happens when you attend a party where you are likely to meet strangers you would like to get to know better]
Nonverbal cues help define our relationship. [Ex. you could wave, shake hands, nod, smile, pat the other person on the back, give a hug, or avoid all contact]
Nonverbal cues convey emotion. [For example, people who know you well might recognize that you are shocked, happy, stressed, or sad, even when you are trying to hide those feelings or when you haven't fully acknowledged them within yourself]
Affect displays: facial expressions, body movements, and vocal traits that reveal emotional states.
Nonverbal Communication is Ambiguous
[For example, relying on nonverbal cues in romantic situations can lead to inaccurate guesses about a partner's interest in a sexual relationship.]
Nonverbal Communication differs from Verbal Communication
These differences suggest some reasons why it is valuable to focus on nonverbal behavior. [For example, whereas verbal messages are almost always intentional, nonverbal cues are often unintended, and sometimes unconscious.]
Nonverbal Skills are Important
Nonverbal encoding and decoding skills are strong predictors of popularity, attractiveness, and socio-emotional well-being.
Definition: "messages expressed through nonlinguistic means."
Influences on Nonverbal Communication
The meaning of some gestures varies from one culture to another. [Ex. the "okay" gesture made by joining thumb and forefinger to form a circle is a cheery affirmation to most Americans, but it has less positive meanings in other parts of the world. In France and Belgium it means, "You're worth zero." In Greece and Turkey it is a vulgar sexual invitation, usually meant as an insult.]
Media depictions often exaggerate stereotypical differences in masculine and feminine styles of nonverbal communication. [Ex. animated films like Disney princesses would portray the femals and males to the most stereotypical way. From the way they dress and talk.]
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Ex. If someone asked you for directions to the nearest drugstore, you could say, "North of here about two blocks," repeating your instructions nonverbally by pointing north.
Ex. When a friend asks you what's new, you might shrug your shoulders instead of answering in words.
Emblems: Deliberate nonverbal behav- iors with precise meanings, known to virtually all members ofa cultural group.
For example, a friend apologizing for forgetting an appointment with you. Your friend's sincerity will be reinforced if the verbal apology is accompanied by the appropriate nonverbal behaviors: the right tone of voice, facial expression, and so on.
Illustrators: Nonverbal behaviors that accompany and support verba l messages.
Ex. Pointing an accusing finger adds emphasis to criticism (as well as probably creating defensiveness in the receiver). Stressing certain words with the voice ("It was your idea!") is another way to add nonverbal accents.
Nonverbal behaviors can control the flow of verbal communication. For example, parties in a conversation often unconsciously send and receive tum-taking cues.
A common example of this sort of mixed message is the experience we've all had of hearing someone with a red face and bulging veins yelling, "Angry? No, I'm not angry!"
Some people are better at hiding deceit than others. For example, most people become more successful liars as they grow older.
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Posture and Gesture .
Kinesics: The study of body movement, gesture, and posture.
Manipulators: Movements in which one part of the body grooms, massages, rubs, holds, pinches, picks, or otherwise manipulates another part.
Face and Eyes
For example, looking at a conversational partner enhances evaluations of intelligence.Smiling cocktail waitresses earn larger tips than unsmiling ones, and smiling nuns collect larger donations than ones with glum expressions.
Affect blend: the combination of two or more expressions, each showing a different emotion.
Paralanguage: nonlinguistic means of vocal expression: rate, pate, tone, and so on.
Disfluencies: Vocal interruptions such as stammering and use of "uh," "um," and "er."
Physical Attractiveness. [Ex. For example, women who are perceived as attractive have more dates, receive higher grades in college, persuade males with greater ease, and receive shorter court sentences. Both men and women whom others view as attractive are rated as being more sensitive, kind, strong, sociable, and interesting than their less attractive brothers and sisters.]
Clothing. Clothing can be used to convey, for example, economic status, educational level, social status, moral standards, athletic ability and/or interests, belief system (political, philosophical, religious), and level of sophistication.
Ex. A supportive pat on the back, a high five, or even an inappropriate graze can be more powerful than words, eliciting a strong emotional reaction in the receiver.
Haptics: the study of touch
There are two ways that the use ofspace can create nonverbal messages: the distance we put between ourselves and the territory we consider our own.
Distance: The study of the way people and animals use space has been termed proxemics.
Proxemics: The study of how people and anima ls use space.
Intimate distance: The most obvious context for intimate distance involves interaction with people to whom we're emotionally close- and then mostly in private situations. Intimate distance between individuals also occurs in less intimate circumstances: visiting the doctor or dentist, at the hairdresser's, and during some athletic contests. Allowing someone to move into the intimate zone usually is a sign of trust. (begins with skin contact and ranges to about 18 inches.)
Personal distance: The closer range is the distance at which most relational partners stand in public. We are uncomfortable if someone else "moves in" to this area without invitation. (ranges from 18 inches at its closest point to 4 feet)
Social Distance: Within it are the kinds of communication that usually occur in business situations.
Public distance: The closer range of public distance is the one most teachers use in the classroom.
Territoriality: Fixed space that an individual assumes some right to occupy.
The physical environment people create can both reflect and shape interaction.
An environment can shape the kind of interaction that takes place in it.
Monochronic: The use of time that emphasizes punctuality, schedules, and completing one task at a time.
Polychronic: The use of time that emphasizes flexible schedules in which multiple tasks are pursued at the same time.
Chronemics: The study of how humans use and structure time.
Building Competence in Nonverbal Communication
Tune out words
It's easy to overlook important nonverbal cues when you're only listening to the words being spoken. Nonverbal cues can reveal important information about feelings and attitudes.
Use Perception Checking
Because nonverbal behaviors are ambiguous, it's important to consider your interpretations as educated guesses, not absolute translations. [For example. The yawn that interrupts a story you're telling may signal boredom, but it might also be a sign that the listener is recovering from a sleepless night.]
Pay Attention to your own Nonverbal Behavior
Along with attending more carefully to the unspoken messages of others, there's value in monitoring your own nonverbal behavior. [Ex. For example, we sometimes overestimate how well we are hiding our anxiety, boredom, or eagerness from others.]
What bothered you?
For this chapter particularly, there is nothing that bothered me as it is very interesting and intriguing.
What confused you or made you want to find out more?
The sub topic regarding influences on nonverbal communication is very interesting as I would like to learn more about it. It would be great if it will be elaborated more in class.
What surprised you in the readings?
In the readings I was surprised with the section regarding building competence in non-verbal communication. A particular part would be paying attention to our own nonverbal behavior. It made me realize that we are still communicating even when we don't realize it.