Many of us may think verbal communication or language is the sole type of communication that we use to commune with others. This is far beyond this case.
You may not realize it, but he majority of communication that you use to commune is in fact nonverbal. Nonverbal communication can be practiced though touch like shaking a hand or your eye contact which falls under Haptic communication. Nonverbal communication can be conversed simply in the image your body looks like, for example an old person versus child to the way you are dressed like a police uniform verses a half naked surfer.Physical environment plays a large role in nonverbal communication. This includes the space that is put between the senders and receivers and actual physical boundaries and environment such as furniture and artwork. One of the most influential forms of nonverbal communication in my opinion is someone’s movement and body arrangement which is referred as Kinesics. This falls under posture which can reveal someone’s attention as a receiver or sender to gestures which are non vocal physical movement indented to send out a message to the receiver.
Some of us have heard a quote from our parents or close relatives “a first impression is a lasting one”. This is because the way you look has a major impact on how you communicate to everyone around you. Take for example the way someone dresses. In most cases you are going to dress for the occasion you are attending. If you happen to be a executive of a large company who represents many people, you are not going to stroll in a board meeting in a tank top and jeans. It will make you unprofessional by the means that nobody will take you seriously. Your actual physical body structure has a impact on how you communicate.
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A tall muscular man will in most cases have more authority and respect to a person or group as a leader then a scrawny little girl. Age also has an effect on nonverbal communication. If we go back many years when the lifep of a human was rare over fifty or sixty years of age, we treated these elders with respect and accepted their wisdom and guidance. However this also comes with gender. There were few or none women elders at that time which brings to the fact that men were and still somewhat are treated with more seriousness. When speaking orally with someone, we may notice how we spaced ourselves ith the listener. For example it may become natural for us when speaking with a close friend, to allow them to stand closer to you then a customer that you are meeting for the first time to discuss business.
The amount of physical spaced needed solely depends on the relationship you have with your listeners. This communicates many emotions like aggression, affection and fear. These zones are divided into four sectors circling with you in the center. From going closer to you to farther from you, they are intimate, social, personal, and public space.With intimate being your closest zone, you only allow a select group to make contact with you. “Your invading my personal space” is a prime example of this. Many will become threatened and develop hostility toward a stranger who walks up directly to you without identifying themselves first and violates your intimate space.
Imaginary space we put between people is not the only type of method we use to communicate to others. Actual physical objects plays a role also, for instance buildings, office spaces and trophy rooms. Many industrialized countries have always competed with each other to have the biggest and tallest objects.Whether it would be skyscrapers to roller coasters to cars. It communes dominance and pride to posses things like these. You walk into a well known sport player trophy room and see there rows and rows of trophies they have acquired over the years, it communes great respect and accomplishment for what they had done. Another example is walking into a executive office of a big business.
You see elegant furniture, colorful paintings and a grand high office chair behind a shiny desk with a name tag. This clearly displays power, fame and prestige.A significant attribute to nonverbal communication is the movement and body position known as kinesics. This term was founded in 1952 by anthropologist Ray Birdwhistel who was involved in filming people interacting in social situations. Under kinesics is posture. Your human posture simply referrers to the way your body is in position. This can be more easily recognized while the person is standing still such as when standing upright, sitting down, kneeling and lying down.
Posture in nonverbal communication advertises your sense of involvement, mindfulness and goals in a variety of ways.The direction the body points to is where the mind wants to go. Body angles say everything about a conversation. When two people to engage in an intimacy position, they face each other head on. When two people are engaging in a non threatening conversation, they are positioned in their social space facing each other at an angle but if a third party member decided to join this conversation, one of two things may happen. If the original two decide to accept the third into their group, all three turn to face each other in a triangular formation signaling evenness among the group.However if the original two do not openly accept the third into their conversation, they will not shift their position toward the third thus signaling that they are not invited.
If they are willing to acknowledge the third person is there however, they might consider to turn their heads towards them, but there foot position will not change. This example of turning your head to face some one to acknowledge their presence can also be used in example where two individuals are in a conversation.The first one has their body fully turned to face the second, but he second person only has their head facing the first with their body facing another direction. This signifies that the first person is trying to hold the second person’s attention, but the second person is signaling that they are in a position to leave but still acknowledging the first persons presence. Another characteristic that falls under kinesics and goes hand in hand with posture is gestures. Gestures are nonverbal expressions such as hand signals and facial expressions. We use gestures on a daily basis to signal a variety of things.
Short quotes are expressed though gestures or also known as emblems such as hello and good bye by simply waving your hand. These can easily be identified and translated into verbal statements and is widely shared within your society. In many cases gestures are needed when talking verbally is forbidden, unwise or wont make a difference towards the receiver. In a noisy crowd, if you want to communicate with your friend from a distance, yelling at each other will not get your message to your friend. However making a pointing gesture in a direction is an excellent way of signaling to your friend where you want to meet.This also goes with sport teams on a field. When a coach is pointing at players then to specific spots for those players to go and defend, it is much easier then for the coach to walk up to each player and explain to them verbally where to position themselves.
There is an entire language of gestures that represents words and emotions for individuals who cannot communicate what so ever verbally and in some cases even visually. This is knows as sign language. Each gesture in sign language does not represent a letter or a written alphabet but a certain meaning. When having a verbal conversation, we are using or had used a gesture.Using gestures while speaking can be know as “beat gestures”. They are used to keep up with the mood of the speech and acknowledge the sender and receiver. Simple examples would be a smile.
A sender smiles signals the person is enjoying what they are saying or a receiver smiles indicating they are both listing and enjoying. With eight thousand muscles currently working in your face, more then seven thousand facial expressions can be created. The overall appearance of the face is a multitude of signs from many sources, such as the bony construct, shapes and positions of structure, and color and consistency of the skin.Facial expressions created by muscular actions have their origins in the earliest ancestors of the human species, but this jargon continually evolves and grow through both biological and social mechanisms. The facial muscles fabricate the changing facial expressions that carry information about emotion, mood, and thought. Smiling is one of them. Showing round eyes and raised cheeks and an open mouth signals that you are happy.
Fear would show round eyes, raised eyebrows and open mouth. Anger would show a lowering of the eyebrow and mouth. A disgusted expression shows a wrinkled nose, lowered eyelids and eyebrow and a raised upper lip.Sadness would show sagginess around the eyes and mouth and surprise would show widely raised eyebrows, open eyes and mouth. As you can tell some of these emotions share the same features, this is why it is sometime hard for a receiver to tell what you are trying to communicate. All of these expressions are shared universally though different cultures and societies. There is an entire language of gestures that represents words and emotions for individuals who cannot communicate what so ever verbally and in some cases even visually.
This is knows as sign language. One can say a more permanent gesture can be eye contact.Eye contact is important in its quantity because too little may or too much may indicate communication barriers. Eye contact in while communicating and in relationships shows intimacy, attention, and influence. Coinciding with facial expressions, there is no rules against eye contact, however you may have heard people telling you that it is rude to stare at strangers. How ever in many places in the united states it is perfectly acceptable to glance at strangers you are passing on the sidewalk with either a gesture of a nod signaling that you know of their presence or even a quick “hi” before looking away right away.Still eye contact has its uses in certain places.
Many will not make eye contact while riding a subway or bus station with strangers but have more when sitting in a college classroom. Americans in general feel uncomfortable to gaze on another stranger or not, it is too intense for them. Yet too little eye contact can communicate a loss of interest, negligence, and even mistrust. This can be viewed as negative response towards people. Some may have heard the quote “never look into a person who doesn’t look into your eyes”. But of course this is all culture based.In some asian countries, have no eye contact with your sender or reciever indicates a kind of respect and authority.
Haptics plays a unique role in nonverbal communication. This type of communication is practiced though touching. Haptics covers all kinds of touching on both the sender and receiver. Touching each other such as grasping hands, shaking hands, kissing, back slapping, high fives and pats on the shoulder. Shaking hands dates back to ancient Greece to signal to each other that they are peaceful and hold no weapons. Shaking hands has a list of different meanings.Meeting, greeting, parting, offering, congratulations, expressing gratitude or completing an agreement.
Shaking hands varies from society to society. Adapters in Haptics is type of touching you do to yourself such as licking, picking, holding, and scratching. These send out messages to the receiver to reveal your intentions and feelings. The meaning of the touch depends on the situation and relationship. Touch is a tremendously important sense for humans and other animals alike not only to bestow information about textures and surfaces, but for relationships as well.Hugging your mother versus patting your dad on his back are both common haptic communications. Haptic communication can be sexual.
Kissing is a prime example of sexual orientation in countries like the united states, but no where close in some middle eastern countries where kissing is a form of everyday greeting. Touching skin to skin is a process that is said to be vital with infants in their developing stages. A baby cries, you go and pick it up and it will sometime automatically stop crying at once. The prime reason is that it felt comfort against another body.Retaining a sense of touch out performs a child’s sense of smell and sight many times over in the process of growing up. There has been cases in United States homes where babies were properly nourished in a healthy household environment have died because of lack of touch. Babies need that tender loving care and human bodily contact to survive.
Touching between adults is treated differently but very much a function of culture. Societies that practice many forms of social touching in conversations like the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Latin America who routinely embrace and hold hands are called high contact cultures.In the United States however, it is more rare if any at all. But even so haptics vary on the same subject. Going back to the handshake, which changes on the occasion depending on the kind of message the send and receiver are hoping to achieve. It could be a very tough grip handshake signaling dominance and a degree of intimacy, or it could be a soft and slow handshake acknowledging comfort or love. A blunt form of haptic communication can be though actual physical violence and abuse.
Hitting, kicking, scratching, choking and even rape. All signals hate towards another so they express their sense of touch through these aspects.We yawn, grunt, burp and cry, hesitate and practice sarcasm. These all fall under nonverbal communication knows as paralanguage. All these vocal emotions effect the outcome of the communication that is released to the receiver. Someone says “good afernoon” to you in the most boring and coarse tone you have ever heard. You then know that this afternoon is far from good for this person.
The accent of the words have a lasting effect on their true meaning. “Its not what he said, it’s the way he said it”. Human and animal voices alike when speaking a sentence for humans and emitting an animal’s personal call all change due to paralanguage.When dealing with nonverbal communication, one aspect has to be applied in all areas it falls under. Nonverbal communication is culturally motivated. Always has been and always will be. Communicating nonverbally you will sometimes feel that you can get your message across to the receiver easier and more efficiently.
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