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Business Communication

Unit:5 Non-Verbal Communication

Understanding Nonverbal Messages

Why Focus on Nonverbal Communication? The Nature of Nonverbal Communication Codes of Nonverbal Communication How to Interpret Nonverbal Cues More Accurately

Nonverbal Communication Defined

Communication other than written or spoken language that creates meaning for someone, sign language is one exception to this definition Human action and behavior and the corresponding meaning that is attached to behavior. In short everything but the words.

Nonverbal Communication Defined

A system of symbolic behaviors that includes all forms of communication except words. -- Waving can mean, Hello, Goodbye, Go ahead, Im over here, etc. -- Laughing can mean, Thats funny, Im nervous, Thats stupid.

Why Focus on Nonverbal Communication?

Nonverbal Messages Communicate Feelings and Attitudes
most significant source of emotional information is the face vocal cues approximately 93% of emotional meaning is communicated nonverbally

Why Focus on Nonverbal Communication?

Nonverbal Messages Are Critical to Successful Relationships Nonverbal Messages Serve Various Functions for Verbal Messages substitute complement contradict repeat regulate accent

Linkage of Verbal and Non Verbal Communication

Repeating (Verbal signal followed by physical signal) Contradicting (Subtle clues about message) Complimenting (Congruence of action and words) Accenting (Strong action supporting words) Substituting (Use action or symbols in lieu of words. OK) Regulating (Speaking louder, holding up a hand)

Types of nonverbal communication

1. Voice 2. Body talk 3. Environmental cues

1. Voice
Characteristics of voice:
a. Pitch b. Volume c. Tone d. Duration

a. Pitch
Highness or lowness on a musical scale. High, medium, and low pitch can each stand for something different. Range and inflection Range is the highest to the lowest pitch a speaker can reach. Inflection is the rising and falling of pitch that adds variety to speaking.

b. Volume
Listeners are sensitive to the volume of the messages they receive. Use listener feedback to judge your volume.

c. Tone
Tone is a specific vocal quality which makes your voice pleasant or unpleasant to listen to.

d. Duration
This refers to the speed a person uses when speaking. Rate is how fast or slow the speech is. Tempo refers to the rhythmic variations (fast or slow) in the speech.

2. Body talk
Personal appearance Kinesics Movement and gesture Facial communication

a. 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.

b. 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.


c. 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.

d. 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.

3. Environmental cues a. Spatial communication b. Time communication c. Other environmental cues

a. Spatial communication
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

Personal Space Categories for Those in the United States

18 18 to 4 4 to 8 8 to 10

Intimate distance Personal distance Social distance Public distance

1. Territory
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.

2. 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.

b. Time communication
Nonverbal messages can be sent with how time is managed. If you are always late to meet friends, 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.

c. Other cues
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.

How to Interpret Nonverbal Cues

Immediacy Cues
Proximity: Body Orientation: Eye Contact: Facial Expression: Gestures: Posture: Touch: Voice: Close, forward lean Direct, could be side-by-side Eye contact and mutual eye contact Smiling Head nods, movement Open and relaxed, arms oriented toward others Cultural-and context-appropriate Higher pitch, upward pitch

Characteristics of nonverbal communication

1. 2. 3. 4. 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 persons 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.

You can use nonverbal messages to help create the image you want to have.

Characteristics of a positive professional image

1. 2. 3. 4. Confidence Poise Assertiveness Immediacy

1. Confidence
Show confidence by having a strong voice and a positive attitude. This shows you believe in yourself.

2. Poise
Poise sends the message that you are in control of yourself. People who have poise always act appropriately. They are never uncertain about how to act or what to say. They also keep calm when other people may be stressed or angry.

3. Assertiveness
If you are assertive (not aggressive), it means you are confident of yourself and your opinions. You are not afraid to take a stand and will not allow a pushy salesperson or a bullying friend treat you unfairly. An assertive person uses tact and persuasiveness to stand up for themselves.

4. Immediacy
Having immediacy means you give your full attention to other people when they talk to you. This makes you seem friendly and open.

Body Signal Bodily Contact Proximity Orientation Gaze Eyebrow

touches, strokes, holds within normal range, closer proximity mutual gaze, more direct, intimate friends sit side-by-side more gaze, combined with smiles-especially males raised rapidly in greeting and flirtation lean forward open arms & legs-especially female smiles soft


Less direct less gaze

Facial Expression Tone of Voice

more relaxed, head tilted back hands on hips

loud, assertive



Brisk, erect walk


Standing with hands on Readiness, aggression hips Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking slightly Sitting, legs apart Boredom

Open, relaxed

Arms crossed on chest

Walking with hands in pockets, shoulders hunched


NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR Hand to cheek Touching, slightly rubbing nose Rubbing the eye Hands clasped behind back Locked ankles Head resting in hand, eyes downcast Rubbing hands

INTERPRETATION Evaluation, thinking Rejection, doubt, lying Doubt, disbelief Anger, frustration, apprehension Apprehension Boredom Anticipation

NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR Sitting with hands clasped behind head, legs crossed Open palm

INTERPRETATION Confidence, superiority

Sincerity, openness, innocence Pinching bridge of nose, Negative evaluation eyes closed Tapping or drumming fingers Steepling fingers Patting/fondling hair Impatience Authoritative Lack of self-confidence; insecurity



Stroking chin
Looking down, face turned away Biting nails

Trying to make a decision


Insecurity, nervousness

Pulling or tugging at ear Indecision

What is this Posture?


What is this Posture?


What is this Posture?


What is this Posture?


What is this Posture?


What is this Posture?


What is this Posture?


What Non-grammatical signals would you use?

For Emphasis when To be persuasive Gaze more you are speaking:
More gestures & headnods More facial activity Higher speed of delivery Higher volume & louder Hesitate less

What Non-grammatical signals would you use?

To frame what you To frame what you are are saying use: saying: Tone of voice Speed Pitch bodily movements quote or roll eyes

What Non-grammatical signals would you use?

To illustrate a point variety of movements when you are speaking

To illustrate a point use:

hand movements to clarify the verbal message, e.g. 'spiral staircase' or 'over there'

What Non-grammatical signals would you use?

To provide feedback encouraging to your audience head-nods when you are Smiles 'uh-huh' sounds etc speaking
more negative
Frowns Grimaces stares

To give feedback use:

So What Does This Mean?

Let me see!

Pondering Thinking Considering

So What Does This Mean?

Can I help! Trust me! Youre in good hands! Helping Hand

So What Does This Mean?

I cant take it anymore! It hurts so much! Pain

So What Does This Mean?

What? So that is what you were thinking? Inquisitive

So What Does This Mean?

What do you mean! I am not going to take this! Angry

So What Does This Mean?

Wanna fight? Aggressive No flight here just fight that stressor!

So What Does This Mean?

Oh boy, the cameras are on me now! Dejected

So What Does This Mean?

Its not fair! I want it! I will make you miserable till I get it! Pout

So What Does This Mean?

Oh Brother! Pensive Thinking

So What Does This Mean?

1: Oh really must I be here? Why do I have to sit next to her? Ive got it! 2: Worried. This guy to my right is weird. 3: Can I pull it off? This is important to my future!

So What Does This Mean?

OH LORD! WHY? I cant take this, it is too much!

So What Does This Mean?

I will get through this! Determined I will not budge!

So What Does This Mean?

So Let me see? It was like this. I will give you what you want!

So What Does This Mean?

So tell me more! Open Accepting Welcoming

So what do you think?

How important is non-verbal communication in your communications with others? What messages are you sending which you really do not want others to pick up? Ho can you improve your effectiveness as a communicator? What do you need to do so as to improve your ability to listen to the non-verbal cues of others?