Actions communicate to your partner “when to begin a conversation, whose turn it is to speak, how to get a chance to speak, how to signal others to talk more, and how to end a conversation.”
Repeating the message
The gestures and the words you use have similar meanings and reinforce one another.
Substituting for words
An action is replacing a verbal utterance and that action becomes the language.
Problems and misconceptions
Nonverbal communication can be ambiguous
Different situations or environments produce different nonverbal messages.
Multiple factors influence nonverbal communication
Not everyone in a particular culture engages in the same nonverbal actions, so interpretations of nonverbal behaviors must be carefully evaluated before generalizations can be made.
The study of nonverbal communication includes cultural universals
There are many similarities in how cultures employ this communication system.
Nonverbal communication and culture
Your culture has taught you what nonverbal actions to display (crying or laughing), the meaning of those actions (sadness or happiness), and the contextual backdrop of those actions (funeral or wedding).
Classifications of nonverbal communication
Most classifications divide nonverbal messages into two comprehensive categories: those that are primarily produced by the body (appearance, movement, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, and paralanguage), and those that the individual combines with the setting (space, time, and silence).
+ Judgement of beauty:
What is seen as beautiful in one culture may look hideous to people from another culture.
+ Skin color:
Members of a culture are judged by their skin tone.
Clothing can be used to convey economic status, education, social status, moral standards, athletic ability and/or interests, belief system (political, philosophical, religious), and levels of sophistication.
Culture teaches them how to use and interpret the movements.
Posture can indicate whether or not people are paying attention, the degree of status in the encounter, if people like or dislike each other, feelings of submissiveness, and even sexual intentions.
Gestures are a nonverbal “vocabulary” that people use, both intentionally and unintentionally, to share their internal states: idiosyncratic gestures, beckoning gestures, agreement gestures, frequency and intensity of gestures.
First, eyes express emotions, monitor feedback, indicate degrees of attentiveness and interest, regulate the flow of the conversation, influence changes in attitude, define power and status relationships, and help modify impression management. Second, eyes are significant to the communication process because of the number of messages they can send.
Each culture defines who can touch whom, on what parts of the body, and under what circumstances.
+ The study of this message system, called proxemics, is concerned with such things as (1) personal space, (2) seating, and (3) furniture arrangement.
+ The following four categories that demonstrate how space can communicate:
a. Intimate distance (actual contact to 18 inches) is normally reserved for very personal relationships. You can reach out and touch the person at this distance. Because of the closeness of the participants, voices are usually in the form of a whisper.
b. In personal distance (18 inches to 4 feet) there is little chance of physical contact, and you can speak in a normal voice. This is distance reserved for family and close friends.
c. Social distance (4 to 12 feet) is the distance at which most members of the dominant culture conduct business and take part in social gatherings.
d. Public distance is usually used in public presentations and can vary from relatively close to very far.
+ Seating arrangements send both inconspicuous and obvious messages.
+ The arrangement of furniture:
It stresses the need for people and nature to live in harmony.
The arrangement of furniture in offices can also give you a clue to the character of a people.
+ Each culture teaches its people what is appropriate or inappropriate with regard to time.
+ To better recognize some contradictory ways of using time we will examine two cultural perspectives: (1) informal time and (2) monochronic and polychronic classifications.