ENG 301- Business Communication Lecture # 6. Non- Verbal Communication

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1 Non- Verbal Communication Interpreting the nonverbal part of the message. Nonverbal communication consists of that part of a message that is not encoded in words. The nonverbal part of the message tends to be less conscious and often reveals the sender s feelings and preferences more spontaneously and honestly than the verbal part. If the verbal message does not match the nonverbal communication, people tend to believe the nonverbal message. Four types of nonverbal messages 1. Personal (to the individual) 2. common to a group of people or culture 3. universal (to humankind) 4. unrelated to the message (random) Four types of nonverbal messages Personal Nonverbal communication involves kinds of nonverbal behaviour that are unique to one person. The meaning is also unique to the person sending the message. For example, someone may work while talking, another person may work in silence. One person may laugh due to nervousness or fear, while another may cry. Cultural nonverbal communication, by contrast, is characteristics of, or common to, a group of people. It is learned unconsciously by observing others in the society group. In Aboriginal culture, for example, eye contact is less acceptable than it is European culture. Universal nonverbal communication is behaviour that is common to humankind. It shows happiness, sadness or deep-seated feelings for example, a smile or tears. Unrelated nonverbal communication, such as a sneeze, is unrelated to the verbal message. It can distract from the verbal message, but has little effect on the meaning of the verbal part of the message. Objectives of Nonverbal Communication Define the Term nonverbal Communication List and define the four types of nonverbal communication Identify its importance to the total message Distinguish four ways of grouping nonverbal communication Identify seven aspects of nonverbal behaviour Highlight the role of nonverbal behaviour in the communication process Confirm with the sender of a message the meaning of their nonverbal behaviour communication Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 1/6

2 Interpret and use your own nonverbal communication appropriately Use nonverbal communication Analysing Nonverbal Communication People communicate nonverbally with body movement and with personal relationship behaviours. This nonverbal communication changes or complements the verbal communication. Nonverbal communication always occurs in a context, or framework. The context often determines the meaning of the nonverbal behaviour. On different occasions the same nonverbal gesture may have completely different meanings. Without context and spoken works, nonverbal behaviour is almost impossible to interpret with any accuracy. Analysing Nonverbal Communication Seven different aspects Theoretical writings and research classify nonverbal communication into seven main areas: 1. Body movement (kinesics behaviour) 2. Physical characteristics 3. Touching behaviour 4. Vocal qualities (paralanguage) 5. Space (proximity) 6. Artifacts 7. Environment Body Movement Body movement, or kinesics behaviour, includes movement of the hands, head, feet and legs, posture, eye movements and facial expressions all these affect the message. Body posture the way a person stands, leans forward, pointing and shaking a finger at someone, is seen as trying to dominate the other person. The way this is received by others, and the type of feedback given, determines how the communication will flow. Physical Characteristics Physical characteristics such as body shape, general attractiveness, body and breathe odours, weight, hair and skin colour are important parts of nonverbal communication. Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 2/6

3 Because people react and respond to these factors, they all determine their responses in interpersonal encounters. First impressions and images of others can be associated unconsciously with past experiences of people with similar physical characteristics. Paralanguage (Vocal Qualities) Paralanguage is that part of language associated with but not involving the word system. It consists of the voice qualities and vocalizations that affect how something is said rather than what is said. Voice qualities include: Pitch range Pitch control Rhythm control Tempo Articulation control Resonance. Paralanguage (Vocal Qualities) Vocalizations also give clue to the total message. Three of these are shown in table. The tones of voice, rate of speaking and voice inflection are an important part of the total message. A tired person, for example, will speak more slowly than usual, a disappointed person may speak with a flat tone, while the tone of voice of someone excited about a coming holiday reflects this excitement. Type Examples Vocal characterizers Vocal Qualifiers laughing, crying, sighing, yawning, clearing the throat, groaning, yelling, whispering intensity (loud/soft); pitch height (high/low). Vocal Segregates sounds such a uh-huh, um, uh ; silent pauses. Proximity (Use of Space) Proximity means nearness, in terms of physical space. How people use their personal space and that of others communicates a message. This response to spatial relationships in formal, informal and intimate setting indicates how that person perceives and feels in that space. People also use their height and weight to convey a message. If you tower over other people in a way that intrudes on their personal space you may cause their discomfort and withdrawal. Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 3/6

4 Personal space varies according to: Gender Status Roles Culture Research has shown that Australians speaking to acquaintances or work colleagues leave about an arm s length of space between themselves and the other person. People speaking to friends and family leave about half an arm or an elbow s length between themselves and others. People in intimate relationships allow direct and close contact when speaking to each other. The use of space reflects the way people feel about others. Artifacts Artifacts are objects used to convey nonverbal messages about self-concept, image, mood, feeling or style. For example, perfume, clothes, lipstick, glasses and hairpieces project the style or mood of the wearer. Many artifacts are common to the group but we also use artifacts, particularly clothing, as an individual form of communication. Appearance and cloth are important and highly visible parts of nonverbal communication. Consider the different between the clothes you wear to the beach and the clothes you wear to a job interview. The choice of clothes reflects your mood and your attitude to the occasion. Other people note and place their own interpretation on your dress. Even if you decide you will not bother about personal appearance or clothes, others will read this message as part of your nonverbal communication. Environmental Factors The environment can influence the outcome of communication. For this reason, organization gives careful consideration to office space, factory layout, the sales area and conference venues. The environment should put people at ease and match their expectations; an unsuitable environment can produce noise that causes communication barriers and interferes with the communication process. Certain instincts, such as desire for privacy, familiarity and security, need to be satisfied. Careful design of the workplace can meet these needs and in so doing improve communication, productivity and morale. Natural and artificial light, colour, temperature, tables, chairs, desks, lounges, plants, sound, artwork, magazines, and floor and wall coverings all have an impact on people s perception of an organization. Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 4/6

5 In the workplace, attention to punctuality or a disregard for it can make a strong nonverbal impact. A disregard for punctuality may, like a sloppy appearance, merely reflect a casual attitude. However, a deliberate decision to keep a contact waiting may be a way to communicate a negative message. While punctuality is a matter of courtesy, attitudes towards its important vary between cultures. To be kept waiting for a business appointment on a tropical island will not have the same significance as a delay in some European counties where punctuality is highly regard. The above discussion of the seven aspects of nonverbal communication provides a theoretical analysis. However, to consider each aspect in isolation is artificial. In practice, what is sent as a total message is a cluster of nonverbal cues in association with the spoken words Your Response to Behaviour Nonverbal Behaviour Teacher Student Body movement Physical characteristics Touching behaviour Vocal qualities Use of Space Artifacts Environment Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 5/6

6 Your Response to an Organization Characteristics Organization I Like Organization I dislike Atmosphere Use of space Smells Colour Service Building Inclusions and fittings Sounds Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 6/6

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