Chapter 5 Nonverbal Communication: The Messages of Action, Space, Time & Silence
Nonverbal behavior is often directly linked to a culture’s worldview and value orientation.
Importance of Nonverbal Communication: Judging internal states – people use nonverbal communication to express attitudes and emotions First impressions Managing interaction
Defining nonverbal communication any message other than words that we assign meaning to For U.S. & U.K. cultures: - 65% of a message is nonverbal - 35% is verbal - When the verbal message contradicts the nonverbal, people usually believe the nonverbal over the verbal
Functions of nonverbal communication: - Repeating - Complementing (illustrators) – supplement the verbal - Substituting – substitute for the verbal words e.g. “ok” - Regulating – regulate interaction e.g. head nods; backchanneling - Contradicting - Expressing emotion – happiness, anger, sadness - Expressing affection – love; intimacy; endearment - Indicate status differences - Indicate type of relationship
Principles of Nonverbal communication: 1.You cannot stop sending nonverbal messages; You cannot, NOT communicate! 2.Nonverbal communication is often ambiguous 3.In American culture & U.K., when the verbal message contradicts the nonverbal messages, we believe the nonverbal over the verbal (aka channel consistency vs.. channel discrepancy) 4.Much of nonverbal communication is culture specific; culturally bound
Types of Nonverbal Signals: - Physical appearance – dress; body type, skin color, hair, eye color, etc. Judgments of beauty are learned. Point: we need to be tolerant of external differences so that we do not let these differences impede communication.
Body movement/kinesics – posture and gestures (using one’s hands and arms) o emblems – substitute for words o illustrators – supplement the verbal o regulators – regulate interaction Facial expressions – “gosh!”, “really??!!”
Eye contact & gaze In the U.S. culture & U.K. cultures: a sign of attention and interest regulates interaction the average length of gaze is 2.95 sec. (when gaze is < 1.18 sec., we tend to think the person is not interested, shy or preoccupied) direct eye contact is considered an expression of honesty and forthrightness
Haptics a type of kinesic behavior involving touch reflects a culture’s attitudes and values types: sexual, playful, control, ritual, greeting or departure, task-related, accidental, etc. some cultures are more touch avoidant than others.
Smell Odor communicates Smell and memory are closely connected Smell can alter moods and increase alertness
Paralanguage/vocalics The sounds we generate apart from words: rate, tone, pitch, pauses, volume, laughter, accents, dialects, noises & backchanneling (“mmm hmm”).
Space & Distance or Proxemics a person’s use of space is directly related to the value system of his/her culture. personal space – when your space is violated, you react; your reaction is a manifestation of your cultural background. U.S. culture territory: 0 – 18”intimates 1 – 4’casual personal distance 4 – 12’impersonal/social distance 12’ >public distance - Seating – furniture arrangement; illustrate power & relationship
Time/Chronemics How we use time communicates something. Culture plays a substantial role in how we perceive and use time. Our use of time is very much dictated by the values of our culture. - Past, Present & future time orientations Monochronic (M-time) – time is fixed in nature; time is a scarce resource Polychromic (P-time) – time is holistic; stress people over process; unstructured (p. 196)
Silence silence communicates silence is also speech silence holds a powerful message knowing when and when NOT to speak is to gain intercultural competence –e.g. Japanese - “It is the duck that squawks that gets shot.” American – “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
Types of Nonverbal Ability: Encoding skill Decoding ability (sensitivity) Skill in regulating or controlling nonverbal communication Competence regarding these abilities (skills) depends on knowing the rules of the specific culture.
Nonverbal Communication and Culture: From your use of eye contact to the amount of volume you employ during interaction, your culture influences the manner in which you send and receive nonverbal symbols. Being able to achieve interaction goals (becoming competent) depends on knowing the rules of the culture(s) we’re dealing with. Be careful not to assume that people are communicating only when they talk.