Informal time is usually composed of two interrelated components—punctuality and pace. Cultures vary in their punctuality standards. You can also determine a culture’s attitude toward time by examining the pace at which members of that culture perform specific acts.
Monochronic (M-time) and polychronic (P-time):
A monochronic view of time believes time is a scarce resource which must be rationed and controlled through the use of schedules and appointments, and through aiming to do only one thing at any one time.
A polychronic view of time sees the maintenance of harmonious relationships as the important agenda, so that use of time needs to be flexible in order that we do right by the various people to whom we have obligations.
There are many cultures that do not fall precisely into one of the two categories, but instead contain degrees of both M-time and P-time.
+ Periods of silence affect interpersonal communication by providing an interval in an ongoing interaction during which the participants have time to think, check or suppress an emotion, encode a lengthy response, or inaugurate another line of thought.
+ Silence also provides feedback, informing both sender and receiver about the clarity of an idea or its significance in the overall interpersonal exchange.
Improving your nonverbal communication skills
• Is my behavior making people feel comfortable or uncomfortable?
• Am I adjusting my nonverbal messages to the feedback I am receiving from my communication “partner”?
• How are people reacting to my use of space, touch, paralanguage, time, and the like?
• If my messages are being misinterpreted is it because my unintentional messages, rather than my intentional messages, are impacting my communication “partner”?
Encourage feedback as a way of improving the accuracy of your perceptions of the communication encounter. Communication skills that promote feedback include smiling, head nodding, leaning forward, and even laughing.
Communication rules are a followable prescription that indicates what behavior is obligated, preferred, or prohibited in a certain context.
Communication rules are culturally diverse
Although cultures have many similar social contexts (business meetings, classrooms, hospitals, and the like), their members frequently adhere to different sets of rules when interacting within those environments.
Assessing the context
In every social context you will find culture-based communication rules that apply to: (1) the appropriate degrees of formality and informality, (2) the influence of assertiveness and interpersonal harmony, and (3) the influence of power distance relationships.