Dania Kaoutarani

Nicauris De Los Santos

Communication in our lives by Julia T Woods

Human Communication, Motivation, Knowledge and Skill by 

Sherwyn P. Morreale Brian H. Spitzberg, J. Kevin Barge




Principles of Nonverbal Communication


  1. Verbal and Nonverbal: Similar Yet Different

                                                               i.      Similarities

1.      Nonverbal communication is symbolic, ambiguous, abstract, and arbitrary.

2.      We can’t guarantee that others understand the meanings we intend to express with our own nonverbal behaviors.

3.      Constitutive and regulative rules are guides to nonverbal behaviors.

4.      Both verbal and nonverbal communication maybe either intentional or unintentional.

                                                             ii.      Differences

1.      Differences between verbal and nonverbal communication

a.       Nonverbal communication is perceived as more honest. People trust nonverbal behavior more than what you actually say.

b.      Nonverbal communication is multi-channeled. Can be perceived through written communication or sign language.

c.       Maybe seen, felt, heard, smelled, and tasted.

2.      Nonverbal communication is more continuous instead of discrete.

  1. Nonverbal communication
    1. Supplements or Replaces Verbal Communication

                                                               i.      Five ways in which nonverbal behaviors interact with verbal communication.

1.      Nonverbal behaviors may repeat verbal messages.

2.      Nonverbal behaviors may highlight verbal communication; like emphasizing key words.

3.      Nonverbal behaviors may complement or add to words.

4.      Nonverbal behaviors may contradict verbal messages.

5.      Some times substituted for verbal behaviors.

6.      Regulates Interaction

                                                             ii.      We use our eyes and body posture to indicate that we want to enter conversations, and speakers step back from a podium to indicate they’ve finished a speech.

1.      Establishes Relational-level meanings

                                                            iii.      Used to convey three dimensions of relationship level meanings:

1.      Responsiveness

2.      Liking

3.      Power

                                                           iv.      We convey relationship meanings and what specific nonverbal behaviors mean depends on the communication rules we’ve learned in our particular cultures.

1.      Responsiveness

2.      Eye contact, facial expressions and body posture indicate interest to others.

3.      Signal interest by holding eye contact and assuming an attentive posture.

4.      Different cultures interpret nonverbal communication gestures differently.

5.      Women often more skilled in communicating nonverbally and interpreting others nonverbal behaviors

6.      Reflects Cultural Values

7.      Reflect communication rules of specific cultures and social communities.

8.      Most nonverbal behaviors aren’t instinctual but learned in the socialization process.

9.      Patterns of eye contact also reflect cultural values.

10.  The Channels of Nonverbal Communication

    1. Body Messages: The body communicates with movements and gestures and just with its general appearance.
    2. Facial

                                                               i.      The face conveys all emotions.

                                                             ii.      Facial Management Techniques: Enable you to express feelings so as to achieve certain desired effects.

1.      Intensify by exaggeration of facial expressions to convey a message.

2.      De-intensify is used to lessen the expressed emotion.

3.      Neutralize is to cover up the emotion.

4.      Mask is to express a different emotion than is actually being felt.

5.      Simulate is to express an emotion that is not felt.

    1. Eye Movement

                                                               i.      Eye messages may include the need for feedback, looking intently at a person may suggest that feedback is wanted.

                                                             ii.      Eye movements also signify the nature of the messages or the relationship. A sharp look if its bad, or a soothing look if its good.

    1. Spatial Messages

                                                               i.      Intimate Distances ranges from actual touching to 18 inches.

                                                             ii.      Personal distance constitutes a protective bubble that defines you personal space, 18 inches to 4 feet.

                                                            iii.      Social distance ranges from 4 feet to 12 feet; visual detail is lost at this state.


  1. Types of Nonverbal communication

1.      Kinesics-body position and body motions, including facial.

                                                             ii.      Bodies express a lot about how we see ourselves.

                                                            iii.      Standing erect shows your self confidence

                                                           iv.      Slouching shows uncertainty of ones self.

                                                             v.      Body postures and gestures may signal if they’re open to interaction and how we feel about others.

                                                           vi.      Our faces are capable of more than 1000 expressions.

                                                          vii.      Eyes can show emotions.

                                                        viii.      How we position ourselves relative to others expresses our feelings for them.


  1. Haptics- physical touch

                                                               i.      Communicates power and status.

                                                             ii.      Women tend to touch others to show liking, versus men who do it to assert power and control.

1.      Physical Appearance

                                                            iii.      We form initial evaluations based on appearance of others.

                                                           iv.      We first notice sex, skin color, size, and features.

                                                             v.      We form judgments of how attractive others are through appearance.

                                                           vi.      We also make inferences about their personalities.

                                                          vii.      Cultures stipulate ideals for physical form.

  1. Artifacts-personal objects with which we announce our identities and personalize our environments.


                                                               i.      How we dress, the jewelry we wear, and objects we carry and use.

                                                             ii.      How we dress affects how we behave.

                                                            iii.      Use artifacts to define settings and personal territories.

                                                           iv.      We claim our personal spaces by filling them with objects that matter to us and reflect our experiences and values.

                                                             v.      Artifacts communicate important relational meanings. Used to express personal identity.

                                                           vi.      Used to express ethnic identity.

  1. Proxemics- Space and how we use it.

                                                               i.      Every culture has norms for using space and for how close people should be to one another.

                                                             ii.      Space signals status; greater space is assumed by those of higher status. Those with greater power are likely to trespass into others’ territory.

                                                            iii.      How people arrange space reflects how close they are and whether they want interaction.

                                                           iv.      People also invite or discourage interaction by how they arrange office spaces.

                                                             v.      Intimate Distances ranges from actual touching to 18 inches.

                                                           vi.      Personal distance constitutes a protective bubble that defines you personal space, 18 inches to 4 feet.

                                                          vii.      Social distance ranges from 4 feet to 12 feet; visual detail is lost at this state.


  1. Environmental Factors

                                                               i.      Elements of settings that affect how we feel and act.

                                                             ii.      Ex. Architecture, colors, room design, temperature, sounds, smells and lighting.

  1. Chronemics-how we perceive and use time to define identities and interaction.

                                                               i.      Important people with high status can keep others waiting.

                                                             ii.      People with low status are expected to be punctual.

                                                            iii.      Express cultural attitudes toward time.

                                                           iv.      The amount of time we spend with different people reflects our interpersonal priorities.

                                                             v.      Expectations of time are established by social norms.

  1. Paralanguage- vocal communication that doesn’t involve words.

                                                               i.      Sounds, murmurs, gasps, vocal qualities such as volume, rhythm, pitch, inflection.

                                                             ii.      Voices tell others how to interpret us and what we say.

                                                            iii.      Vocal cues signal others to interpret what we say as a joke, threat, statement of fact, question, etc.

                                                           iv.      We use our voices to communicate feelings.

                                                             v.      We use our voices to communicate how we see ourselves and wish to be seen by others.

                                                           vi.      Paralanguage also reflects our cultural heritage.

  1. Silence- can communicate powerful messages.

                                                               i.      We use silence to communicate different meanings.

                                                             ii.      Can also disconfirm others.

  1. Improving Nonverbal communication
  2. Monitor Your nonverbal communication

                                                               i.      Think about the ways we use nonverbal communication to announce our identities.

                                                             ii.      What image are your projecting?

  1. Interpret others’ nonverbal communication tentatively

                                                               i.      We can’t state what any particular behavior means to specific people in a particular content

  1. Personal Qualifications

                                                               i.      Nonverbal patterns that accurately describe most people may not apply to particular individuals.

                                                             ii.      To avoid misinterpreting others’ nonverbal communication, you can check and use I-language instead of you- language.

  1. Contextual Qualifications

                                                               i.      The significance of nonverbal behaviors depends on the context in which they occur.

                                                             ii.      Most people are more at ease on their own turf than on some one else’s.

                                                            iii.      We’re usually friendlier when we’re in our own homes than in business meetings and public spaces.

                                                           iv.      Nonverbal communication reflects particular cultures.

                                                             v.      We are likely to miss interpret people from other cultures when we impose the norms and rules of our culture on them.

                                                           vi.      Even within a single culture, different social communities have distinct rules for nonverbal behavior. Ex. Making listening noises or nodding when some ones talking. 


Key terms

1.Nonverbal communication- all aspects of communication other than words.

2. Kinesics- body position and body motions, including those of the face.

3.physical appearance- used to form initial evaluations based on peoples appearances.

4.Artifacts-personal objects with which we announce our identities.

5. Proxemics- space and how we use it.

6.Environmental facts- elements of setting that affect how we feel and act.

7.Chronemics- how we perceive and use time to dine identities and interaction.

8. Paralanguage- vocal communication that doesn’t involve words. Includes sounds, murmurs, gasps, and vocal qualities such as volume, rhythm, pitch and inflection.

9. Silence- can be used to communicate many messages.


Web links

1. www.culture-at-work.com/nvenegotiation.html- Useful in discussing  the application of nonverbal communication theory to mediation and negotiation, including a section on cross-cultural perspectives on lying.


2. www.interculturalrelations.com/resources/theedge.htm - Website for “The Edge, the E-journal of intercultural relations”; Gives information about managing increased intercultural tensions in the wake of the September eleventh attack on the world trade center.


3. Nonverbal.ucsc.edu - University of California- Santa Cruz website that allows students to test their nonverbal communication knowledge.


4. http://nonverbal.ucsc.edu/ - This site is dedicated to every aspect of nonverbal communication, it goes into detail about all the subtopics discussed in the outline.


5. http://www.fhsu.edu/~zhrepic/Teaching/GenEducation/nonverbcom/nonverbcom.htm

Webpage is useful for understanding and visualizing the concepts of nonverbal communication, it has graphics and images to further explain gestures.


6. http://www.culture-at-work.com/nonverbal.html. Culture differences and the social aspects of non verbal communication is explained in this site.


7. http://www.cps.usfca.edu/ob/studenthandbooks/321handbook/verbal.htm. This site has excellent definitions of terms and gives great examples.


           Nonverbal communication is a very interesting topic, which is why I chose it as one of my top picks for our speeches. Everything you do, intentional or not, is nonverbal communication. An odd look in someone’s eyes when they ask you for a favor can give away your true feelings. Some things can be controlled however, such as your facial expression, how you sit, if you look at some one directly or not. These things are less discrete and obvious. It makes your realize that you’re always nonverbally communicating and you should pay closer attention to the things you do.