Nonverbal communication

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Nonverbal communication

  1. 1. Nonverbal Communication
  2. 2. Nonverbal Communication Earlier on, we focused on verbal communication process through written or spoken syllables, usually words. However, we also communicate nonverbally i.e., without words. Sometimes nonverbal messages contradict the verbal; Often they express feelings more accurately than the spoken or written language. In fact, some studies suggest that from 60 to 90 percent of a message effect comes from nonverbal cues. The usual methods adopted for nonverbal communication are Appearance, Body language, Silence, time, and space.
  3. 3. Nonverbal Communication Communication Through Appearance Appearance conveys nonverbal impressions that affect receivers’ attitude toward the verbal message even before they read or hear them. Effect on Written Messages An envelope’s appearance – size, color, weight, and postage – may impress the receiver as “important,” “routine,” or “junk” mail. Telegrams, express mail, and private courier mail also have distinctive envelopes that signal urgency and importance. Next, the letter, report, or title page communicates nonverbally before its contents are read by the kind of paper used, its length, format, and neatness. Finally, the language itself, aside from its content, communicates something about the sender. This is basically about careful wording and mechanics of the language such as spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  4. 4. Nonverbal Communication Effect on oral Messages Personal appearance and the appearance of your surroundings convey nonverbal stimuli that affect attitudes toward your spoken words, whether you are talking to a person one on one or to a group in a meeting. Nonverbal communication adds, subtracts, and amends the messages we send. Nonverbal symbols, in conjunction with oral symbols, say much about who we are, how we feel, and even how we feel about others. Hence, the oral communication context involves both verbal and nonverbal symbols, each hopefully getting listeners to understand us and do what we wish them to do.
  5. 5. Nonverbal Communication Personal Appearance Clothing, neatness, posture and stature are part of personal appearance. They convey impressions regarding occupation, age, nationality, social and economic level, job status, and good or poor judgment, depending on circumstances. Appearance of surroundings Aspects of surroundings include room size, location, furnishings, mechanics, architecture, wall decorations, floor (carpeted or bare?), lighting, windows, view, and other related features wherever people communicate orally. Surroundings will vary according to status and according to country and culture.
  6. 6. Nonverbal Communication Communication Through Body Language The usual methods employed for communicating through body language are facial expressions, gestures, posture and movement, smell and touch, and voice and sounds. Facial Expressions The eyes and face are especially helpful means of communicating nonverbally. They can reveal hidden emotions, including anger, confusion, enthusiasm, fear, joy, surprise, uncertainty, and others. They can also contradict verbal statements. Facial expressions suggest enthusiasm for your topic. A mobile face is an interesting face. Look at the audience; give them the feeling of high interest in them and your topic. Facial expressions include eye contact. Eye contact with your listener suggests respect and goodwill, adding to a favorable impression of you as a speaker.
  7. 7. Nonverbal Communication Gestures, Posture, and Movement Gestures add emphasis to your oral words. Use them to emphasize a point, to suggest rejection of an idea, to describe size. Using your arms helps hold attention. Continual gestures and movement such as pacing back and forth may signal nervousness and may be distracting to listeners. Handshakes reveal attitudes by the firmness or limpness. Posture and movement can convey self-confidence, status or interest. We need movement to hold attention, to get rid of nervousness, to suggest transitions, to increase emphasis. Attire also carries a lot of significance. It is determined by the culture of your group. When in doubt, be more formal than informal.
  8. 8. Nonverbal Communication Smell and Touch Various odors and fragrances convey the emotions of the sender and sometimes affect the reactions of the receiver, especially if the receiver is sensitive to scents. Also, touching people can communicate friendship, love, approval, hatred, anger, or other feelings. A kiss on the cheek, pat on the shoulder, or slap on the back is prompted by various emotions.
  9. 9. Nonverbal Communication Voice and Sounds Our voice quality and the extra sounds we make while speaking are also a part of nonverbal communication called paralanguage. Paralanguage includes voice volume, rate, articulation, pitch, and the other sounds we may make, such as throat clearing and sighing. A loud voice often communicates urgency while a soft one is sometimes calming. Speaking fast may suggest nervousness or haste. A lazy articulation, slurring sounds or skipping over syllables or words, may reduce credibility. A lack of pitch variation becomes a monotone, while too much variation can sound artificial or overly dramatic. Throat clearing can distract from the spoken words. Emphasizing certain words in a sentence can purposely indicate your feelings about what is important.
  10. 10. Nonverbal Communication Communication via Silence, time, and Space Silence, time, and space can communicate more than we may think, even causing hard feelings, loss of business, and profits . Silence We need to consider how we feel when we make an oral request that is met with silence. Or think about the confusion we feel when our written message generates no response).
  11. 11. Nonverbal Communication Time Waiting when an important request is ignored causes problems and attitude changes. Time is important in many ways. How do we feel when we are kept waiting two hours after the scheduled time for an interview? In U.S. culture, being on time for appointments, for work each day, and for deadlines communicates favorable nonverbal messages. Concepts of time, however, vary across cultures. Space The need for personal space decreases as the number of people increases. In the U.S. the need for personal space in a two-person conversation is about 18 inches. The need for space is less in many Middle Eastern countries and more in most Scandinavian countries. Effective communicators must learn to adapt to both senders’ and receivers’ expectations regarding space. The key to success is to be aware of the differences.
  12. 12. Common Communication barriers
  13. 13. Common Communication barriers The communication process is effective only when each step is successful. Ideas cannot be communicated if any step in this process is blocked (skipped or completed incorrectly). When interference in the communication process distorts or obscures the sender’s meaning, it is called a communication barrier, or noise. Recognizing communication barrier is the first step in overcoming them. Examples of barriers to effective communication include perceptual differences, restrictive environments, distractions, and deceptive communication tactics.
  14. 14. Common Communication barriers Perceptual Differences Perception is strongly influenced by cultural differences. Perceptual difference affects how we see the world; no two people perceive things exactly the same way. Perception also influences how we develop languages, which depends on shared definitions for meaning and is shaped by our culture. Little shared experience Meanings dissimilar – Misunderstanding Average amount of shared experience Meanings similar – Average degree of understanding Large amount of shared experience Meanings very similar – high degree of understanding
  15. 15. Common Communication barriers Language is only one of the many differences that exist between cultures. Communicating with someone from another country may be the most extreme example of how different cultures can block communication. But even in our own culture, we and our receiver may differ in age, education, social status, economic position, religion, and life experience.
  16. 16. Common Communication barriers Restrictive Environments Restrictive structures and management block effective communication. Every link in the communication chain is open to error. By the time a message travels all the way up or down the chain, it may bear little resemblance to the original idea. If a company’s formal communication network limits the flow of information in any direction (upward, downward, or horizontal) then communication becomes fragmented. Lower-level employees may obtain only enough information to perform their own isolated tasks, learning little about other areas; so only the people at the very top of the organization can see the big picture.
  17. 17. Common Communication barriers Distractions Communication barriers are often physical distractions: bad connections, poor acoustics, or illegible copy. Although noise of this sort seems trivial, it can block an otherwise effective message. An uncomfortable chair, poor lighting, health problems, or some other irritating condition might distract your receiver. Another kind of distraction is poor listening. We all let our minds wander now and then, and we are especially likely to drift off when we are forced to listen to information that is difficult to understand or that has little direct bearing on our own lives. We are even more likely to lose interest if we are tired or concerned about other matters. Emotional distractions can be difficult to overcome. When you are upset, hostile, or fearful, you have a hard time shaping a message objectively. If your receiver is emotional, he or she may ignore or distort your message. Moreover, the sheer number of messages can also be distracting and many executives are overwhelmed by information overload (the increased volume of messages from all sources).
  18. 18. Common Communication barriers Deceptive Communication Tactics Language itself is made up of words that carry values. So merely by saying things a certain way, you influence how others perceive your message, and you shape expectations and behaviors. An organization cannot create illegal or unethical messages and still be credible or successful in the long run. Still, some business communicators try to manipulate their receivers by using deceptive tactics. Deceptive communicators may exaggerate benefits, quote inaccurate statistics, or hide negative information behind an optimistic attitude. They may state opinions as facts, leave out crucial information, or portray graphic data unfairly. Unscrupulous communicators may seek personal gain by making others look better or worse than they are. And they may allow personal preferences to influence their own perception and the perception of others.
  19. 19. Overcoming Barriers to Improve Communication
  20. 20. Overcoming Barriers to Improve Communication Effective communicators work hard at perfecting the messages they deliver. When they make mistakes, they learn from them. If a memo they’ve written doesn’t get the response they hoped for, they change their approach the next time around. If a meeting they’re running gets out of control or proves unproductive, they do things differently at the next one. If they find that they have to explain themselves over and over again, they reevaluate their choice of communication medium or rework their messages.
  21. 21. Overcoming Barriers to Improve Communication • The successful communicators tend to share the following traits: (i) Perception: They are able to predict how you will receive their message. They anticipate your reaction and shape the message accordingly. They read your response correctly and constantly adjust to correct any misunderstanding; (ii) Precision: They create a “meeting of the minds.” When they finish expressing themselves, you share the same mental picture; (iii) Credibility: They are believable. You have faith in the substance of their message. You trust their information and their intentions; (iv) Control: They shape your response. Depending on their purpose, they can make you laugh or cry, calm down, change your mind, or take action. (v) Congeniality: They maintain friendly, pleasant relations with you. Regardless of whether you agree with them, good communicators command your respect and goodwill. You are willing to work with them again, despite your differences.
  22. 22. Four guidelines for overcoming communication barriers
  23. 23. Four guidelines for overcoming communication barriers First, adopting an audience-centered approach to communication means focusing on your audience and caring about their needs – which means finding out as much as you can about audience members, especially if your audience is from a different culture. Second, fostering an open communication climate means encouraging employee contributions, candor, and honesty. You can create an open climate by modifying the number of organizational levels and by facilitating feedback. Third, creating lean and efficient messages means not communicating unnecessary information and making necessary information easy to get. You can send better messages by reducing the number of messages, minimizing distractions, and using technology responsibly. And fourth, committing to ethical communication means including relevant information that is true in every sense and not deceptive in any way.

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