Nonverbal Communication Tamara S. Arrington University of Kentucky COM 252
Nonverbal Communication A system of symbolic behaviors that includes all forms of communication except words. -- Waving can mean, “Hello,” “Goodbye,”“Go ahead,” “I’m over here,” etc. -- Laughing can mean, “That’s funny,” “I’m nervous,” “That’s stupid.”
Functions of nonverbal communication 1. It has to do with verbal communication 2. It tells what the emotions and relationship are between the people getting and sending the message
1. Nonverbal cues have to do with verbal communication • Nonverbal cues reinforce a verbal message. When babies are little, the parents will say, “I love you” to the baby, and hug the baby at the same time. • Nonverbal cues contradict verbal messages. “Yeah, let’s go eat at McDonald’s,” says your girlfriend. But when she says it, she rolls her eyes and sighs. • Nonverbal cues act as a substitute for a verbal message. A police officer may wave his hand and point at a side street to tell you to take a detour.
The other day, I went up to a local Christian bookstore and saw a "Honk If You Love Jesus " bumper sticker. I was feeling particularly sassy that day, because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting; so I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper. Boy, I'm glad I did! What an uplifting experience that followed!I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good He is...and I didn't notice that the light had changed. It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus, because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed!I found that LOTS of people love Jesus!Why, while I was sitting there, the guy behind me started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, "For the love of GOD! GO! GO! JESUS CHRIST, GO!"What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus! Everyone started honking! I just leaned out of my window and started waving and smiling at all these loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love! There must have been a man from Florida back there, because I heard him yelling something about a "sunny beach"...I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air. When I asked my teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant, he said that it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.Well, I've never met anyone from Hawaii; so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign back. My grandson burst out laughing... why even he was enjoying this religious experience!A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.So, I waved to all my sisters and brothers, grinning, and drove on through the intersection. I noticed I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again, and I felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared; so I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away.Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!Grandma
2. Nonverbal communication tells the emotions and relationship between the people. • Gives messages about feelings. “I don’t care what you buy,” says your mom. But she sits with her arms crossed, not looking at you. • Gives messages about relationships. A close friend might hug you at the funeral of a relative of yours.
Characteristics of nonverbal communication • Subconscious • Contextual • Ambiguous • Cultural
1. Subconscious • We give and respond to others’ nonverbal messages on the subconscious level. The body language of jurors can be studied by experts during jury selection to weed out jurors that subconsciously may be prejudiced against or for the defendant.
2. Contextual • The nonverbal message depends on the context or situation in which it occurs. If you raise your hand in the classroom, it is expected. If you raise your hand in the grocery store, other customers are probably going to look strangely at you.
3. Ambiguous • Nonverbal communication is open to each person’s interpretation. If someone has their arms crossed, you might think they are angry. In reality, they may just be cold.
4. Cultural • A nonverbal message in one culture may send a different meaning in another culture. In America, men greet each other with handshakes. In Arabia, men greet each other with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Can you guess the meaning of this Japanese gesture? a. I'm scared like a bunnyb. I've been hearing things about youc. I'm angry
This woman from France demonstrates this gesture. Can you try to guess what this French gesture means? a. I don't believe youb. I wish I hadn't seen thatc. I am looking at a very handsome man
This gesture is performed by a woman from Iran. Can you guess what this Iranian gesture means? a. Good luck to youb. You will always be number one for mec. "Screw You" (obscene)
Paralanguage (Voice) • Types of paralinguisitics: a. Empahsis b. Disfluencies c. Voice (tone, volume, pitch) d. Rate & Duration
Personal appearance • Most first impressions are based on what is seen. How you dress can influence the way others respond to you. Your grooming, or lack of it, shows others if you take pride in your appearance.
Kinesics • Kinesics is the use of the body in communication. It includes posture and muscular tone and tension. A straight but relaxed posture makes you seem confident. Having loose muscular tone and tension will make you seem relaxed, while taut muscles will make you seem more formal and stressed.
Movement and gesture • Movement refers to the way you walk or move. If you are confident in the way you walk, you will have a positive image. • Gestures are movements that reinforce a message or act as a speech substitute. Tapping your foot implies that you are impatient. Making a circular motion near your ear implies that someone is crazy.
Facial Communication • Facial expressions may last a second, but they communicate many feelings. Eyes are used to make contact and to provide space. Making direct eye contact is seen as being honest.
Proxemics & Territoriality • Sometimes you may identify a space or territory as “yours.” Even if there was no assigned seat, you might have selected a chair and occupied it every day. You felt it was your territory. • Workers identify their space and personalize it. Nonverbal messages can be sent in this way.
You also send messages with your surroundings. Most people place personal artifacts on or around themselves, such as jewelry, pictures on walls, posters, etc. Even what is in or on your backpack sends a message. The colors you select for yourself and even the fragrance you use send nonverbal messages. Nonverbal Artifacts: How do you “mark your territory”?
Edward T. Hall’s “Zones” • This refers to your use of space and what you think of as your “territory.” The way you use space is personal and influenced by your culture. Intimate distance – Up to 18 inches away Personal distance – 18” to 4 feet away Social distance – 4 to 12 feet away Public distance – 12 to 25 feet away
Haptics (Touch) • To touch someone has become a critical question for the workplace and around friends. • Touching can be seen as harassment and intimidation. In many contexts, a handshake is seen as more appropriate than a hug, a pat on the shoulder, or other forms of contact. • Touch can literally HEAL us
Chronemics (Time) • Nonverbal messages can be sent with how time is managed. • Are you always late to meet friends? If so, they may wonder if you care about them. • How you use time gives a message about how effective you are as a student, a worker, and a communicator.