Nonverbal Communication: Codes of communication consisting of symbols that
are not words, including non word vocalizations.
Comparing Verbal & Nonverbal Communication
Both are symbolic
Both are rule-guided
Can be intentional or unintentional
NV communication is "more believable"
Nonverbal can be multi-channeled
Nonverbal is continuous
4 Principles of Nonverbal Communication
supplements or replaces verbal communication
establishes relationship-level meanings
(responsiveness, liking, power)
reflects & expresses cultural value
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Kinesics - body position & motion
Haptics - touch
Artifacts - personal objects
Proxemics - use of space
Chronemics - time
Paralanguage - how we speak
Give me an example of...
o Monitor Feedback
o Maintain Interest and Attention
o Regulate the Conversation
o Signal the Nature of the Relationship
o Compensate for Physical Distance
Touch more in intermediate stages than in initial or established relationships
Power and Control
Ritualistic (shake hands, etc.)
o interesting -- more touch, more tips
Avoidance & Communication Apprehension
Low self-disclosers tend to avoid touch
Gender Issues With Touch
Men avoid touching other men; Women are less likely to avoid same-sex
Women have higher avoidance of opposite-sex touch.
As we age we avoid opposite sex touch
Women initiate opposite sex touch more often than men. Especially in
Opposite sex friends touch more than same-sex friends.
Muslim children are not to touch the opposite sex.
Korean�s avoid touch in public (store owner)
Japanese students touch 1/2 less than American students.
Use of Space
Space that surrounds a person in which they are made comfortable or
uncomfortable. It is a personal bubble of space that moves with you.
Intimate distance: 0-18 inches
Personal Distance: 18-48 inches
Social Distance: 4-12 feet
Public Distance: beyond 12 feet
our need to establish and maintain certain spaces as our own. (nonverbal indicators that signal ownership)
In a dorm room- items on the common desk mark territory.
Personal Space Theories
o you establish a protective body buffer zone
o intimacy and distance vary together
Expectancy Violations Theory
o explains what happens when you < or > distance.
Territoriality and Types
o areas you call your own (your room, desk, office)
o do not belong to you, but you occupy and are associated with (a
regular parking spot at work, a table you sit at)
o open to all people (movie theater seat)
Territoriality and Ownership
Home Field Advantage (get raise, win argument in your space!)
o Central Markers -- items placed somewhere your drink at the table
o Boundary Markers -- show the division like bar placed in check-out
o Ear markers -- "branding" like a name tag, initials on shirt or briefcase
Territoriality and Status
Who has the right to invade territory?
Who has more?
Who has what?
Male and Female Tendencies
Women exhibit less discomfort with small space and tend to interact at
Men have higher territorial needs, especially where it�s short in supply.
Women and children seem to desire more relational closeness than do men
Space and Children
As children grow older their perceptions of crowding will increase.
Personal space requirements grow with age, and that once that personal
space is invaded we consider the perception of crowding.
Overcrowding Personal Space
As our personal space gets smaller, our perception of feeling comfortable
Tension builds up and conflict arises
Sometimes personal items become a factor and an uneasiness of security of
personal items sets in.
Europeans: Don�t need as much personal space.
French: Emphasis on outside and public space
Arabians: Like to have high ceilings, out of normal line of vision, and an
Asians: Place higher focus on functional space.
Differences in Gender
generally, females use more nonverbal gestures than males in order to express
themselves and give feedback
o What you have and where
Study of beautiful, average and ugly rooms
Clothing and Body Adornment
Formaly dressed professor = prepared, knowledgeable and organized
Informally dressed = friendly, fair, enthusiastic and flexible
Technical Time = precise, scientific time
Formal Time = manner in which a culture defines time.
Informal time = forever, right away, soon, etc.
o views time exactly.
Diffused time orientation
o approximate rather than exact.
Time is Cultural, for example:
o Japan -- clocks were exact and fastest walkers
o England, Italy, Taiwan and US in between
o Indonesian -- slowest walkers and least exact.
Monochronic and Polychronic
o Does one thing at a time.
o Time is very serious!
o Job tends to be more important than family even.
o Privacy is extremely important.
Seldom borrows or lends
o Does several things at a time.
o Time is important but not sacred.
o Family and interpersonal relationships are more important than work.
o Actively involved with others.
o United States, Germany, Scandinavia and Switzerland.
Latin Americans, Mediterranean people, Arabians.
Importance placed on the past, present or future.
Past Orientation -- reverence to the past�good ole� days
Present Orientation -- Live in the present for the present.
o less $$ -- tend to be happy with what they have.
Future Orientation -- Focus on future
o more $$ -- tend to look down on other orientations as lazy,
Time and Status...
More Status you have, the more freedom you have!
Less status eat sooner
More status wait...
2 Guidelines for Improvement of Your Nonverbal Communication Skills!
1. monitor your nonverbal communication
2. be tentative interpreting others� nonverbal communication
More Tips on Improving Nonverbal Communication:
o being aware of the ways in which you communicate, and realizing
different people have different ways of using nonverbal comm.
monitor behavior, take note of your posture, movements, and
ask friends for feedback
videotape yourself in a conversation or speech
Expand your repertoire of nonverbal activities
o by expanding your own vocabulary for sending messages, you will
expand your ability to decode the messages of others
Remember that good communication focuses on the receiver of the message
You can send appropriate signals to amplify or intensify your verbal
Proxemics is what brings us together, today. The term ``proxemics'' was coined by
researcher Edward Hall during the 1950's and 1960's and has to do with the study
of our use of space and how various differences in that use can make us feel more
relaxed or anxious.
I. Proxemics comes in two flavors,
A. physical territory, such as why desks face the front of a classroom
rather than towards a center isle, and
B. personal territory that we carry with us, the "bubble" of space that
you keep between yourself and the person ahead of you in a line.
II. I plan to examine two aspects of proxemics and the important role they can
play in our interpersonal communication. These two areas are the use
ofcolor in our environment, and how cultural differences in the use
of personal territory can make us feel discomfort.
I. Let's begin with colors. As we briefly discussed in class, colors can have a
major impact on our comfort level in a given situation.
A. You would not, for instance, take a business client out to lunch
atMcDonalds, due at least in part to the bright reds and yellows used
in their color scheme. These colors cause people anxiety and cause
them to rather rush in, consume their food, and rush back out, than
stay and chat.
B. You would be more likely to take that client to Denny's with its
muted color scheme, or better yet to Marie Callender's where you
can relax in a homey pastel colored environment.
C. Furthermore, studies have shown that bright colors are disturbing not
only to restaurant patrons, but also to their employees. Restaurants
with brightly colored interiors such as Taco
Bell and McDonalds have the highest employee turnover in the food
II. Another important aspect of proxemics is the use of Personal territory. Let
me briefly outline the four areas of personal territory; public, social,
personal, and intimate, that we Americans intuitively respect and use.
A. Public space ranges from 12 to 25 feet and is the distance maintained
between the audience and a speaker such as the President.
B. Social space ranges from 4 to 10 feet and is used for communication
among business associates, as well as to separate strangers using
public areas such as beaches and bus stops.
C. Personal space ranges from 2 to 4 feet and is used among friends and
family members, and to separate people waiting in lines at teller
machines for example.
D. Finally, intimate space ranges out to one foot and involves a high
probability of touching. We reserve it for whispering and embracing.
III. Personal territories, however, can vary both culturally and ethnically.
A. Take Saudi Arabia for example, you might find yourself almost nose
to nose with a business associate because their social space equates
to our intimate space. You would probably find yourself backing
away trying to regain your social space while your associate persues
you across the floor trying to maintain his. Finally, you would come
away from the encounter thinking he was "pushy", and he thinking
you were "standoff-ish."
B. If, on the other hand, you were visiting a friend in the Netherlands,
you would find the roles reversed, you would be doing the chasing
because their personal space equates to our social space.
C. As a final example, let me examine our use of public transportation.
We Americans tend to pull in our elbows and knees and try not to
touch or even look at one another while riding the bus. In Japan, a
country with a population half the size of the United States cramed
into an area half the size of California, subway passengers are
literally pushed into the cars until not even one more person will fit.
You cannot help but be pressed against someone else's sweaty body.
As you can see by the examples I have given, cultural differences and the use of
color in our physical environment can have a great impact upon our interactions
with others. But these are only two of more than twenty major aspects of
proxemics such as eye-contact, facial expression, smells, body warmth, gender,
number of people involved, subject matter, and goals of the communication, for
which we continuously and automatically adjust our use of space. In conclusion, it
is my hope that I have made you more aware of the ways in which proxemics can
affect the success of our interpersonal communication.
KEY ASPECTS OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Gesture is one of the main component of the visible code of Non verbal
communication. Gesture is the communication made with some part of human
body knowingly or unknowingly. People all over the world knowingly or
unknowingly express their emotions, feeling and thoughts through various
gestures. Shrugging of shoulders, Nodding of head, flourishing of hands all these
are various gestures which represent various thoughts and feelings. Sometimes
speech is very well coordinated by gestures. This adds a new flavor to the speech
and increases the influence of the speaker greatly.Left sided gestures may indicate
negative affect while right sided gestures indicate positive affect,and this depends
on whether a person is right or left handed.
Body language or posture
Body Language forms part of the category of paralanguage in which
communication is done using body movements or gestures. It is mostly used to
determine a participant’s attention or interest in the discussion.Direction of lean,
body orientation, arm position, and body openness are the various posture
characteristics which tell about the persons attentiveness to the speech. This body
language gestures can be both voluntary as well as involuntary. Winking and slight
movement of the eyebrows can be involuntary sometimes while general body
movements are voluntary.
Facial expressions are a primary means of conveying information of social
importance among humans. Actually emotions are intrinsic part of facial
expressions. Our face is most expressive part. As expressions are closely tied to
emotion, they are more often involuntary.For example- A Smile, a frown ,raising
eyebrows can add to the meaning conveyed through verbal means. It is very tough
to control these expressions and mostly the hurting one.No matter how much a
person tries,their is always a bit of expression on face after any event related to
him/her. Studies have shown depression decreases when one smiles more often.
Eye Contact is an event when two people look at each others eyes at the same
time.Eye contact and facial expressions provide important social and emotional
information.Different cultures adopt different eye contact perceptions .A good eye
contact is a means of gaining feedback. Eye contact or gazing tells a lot of things
about people. People which try to avert a eye contact shows that they are worried
or scared of something whereas positive eye contact shows the confident and
influential nature of communicator.An example of eye contact feature in
communication can be- when a professor is giving a lecture, a student may
communicate disinterest by looking away outside instead of listening to the
Clothing, hairstyles or even architecture
Research shows that the clothing that a person wears, hairstyle he adopts or even
the physique he has, all these thing send non verbal messages to others. It is quite
fascinating to see that the people which are taller are more impressive mostly
according to our psychology. Even our dressing sense tells lot of things about us.
Our behavior, interests all are reflected by our clothing. Color choices tells us
about our mood at a given instant.
Touch can be positive (e.g. patting) or negative (e.g. beating). Touch can be a
handshake, hug, pat, brushing, kissing or even high fives. Different civilizations
and cultures have different meanings to touch. For example- Kissing on hand or
cheek is quite common in European countries as well as American countries but
you will find it a odd practice in Asian countries. Mostly the main aim of this kind
of positive touches is confidence and moral building and are mostly seen as
Time perceptions include punctuality, the speed of speech and how long people
are willing to listen. Their are various kind of perceptions of time in different parts
of the worlds. Some societies give more influence on doing one thing at a time but
doing it precisely whereas their are some counter thoughts that one can do various
works at single instance of time without impacting preciseness.
So the way the persons gives importance to time is really important to figure out
his behavior in social world and can be used as a advantage by others to start a
I think this discussion on the various key features of Non verbal communication
will be quite useful in changing the style of our day to day communication. Surely
people would be able to express their thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions in a
better way after reading this article.
Mark Allen Peterson
Paralanguage refers to verbal communications that have meaning but are not part
of the system of words and grammatical rules we call language. Paralanguage
includes such elements as pitch, amplitude, rate, and voice quality. Laughter,
imitatitive speech, and prosody are also forms of paralanguage. Paralanguage
emphasizes the fact that people convey meaning not only in what they say, but also
in how they say it. Paralinguistics is a crucial component in all human
communication. In any verbal interaction, we employ sets of culturally constituted
codes to make a series of inferential judgments that interpret what is being said.
These interpretations occur at several levels, including linguistic and paralinguistic,
as well as kinesic, musical, interactional and others. Paralinguistic communication
often operates as a metamessage to alert communicants as to how to interpret a
message. For example, in American English, a simple change in tone and stress
can determine whether a linguistic ...