Interpersonal Communication

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In every society nonverbal communication is one of the most powerful tools that a person can use to interpret the message that is being delivered. Even though verbal communication is fairly straightforward, nonverbal communication allows others to sense the true emotions of the person that is expressing them. For example even though a person may say that they are not irritated, their usage of voice may display otherwise. Nonverbal communication not only reveals hidden messages, but it also complements, substitutes, and exaggerates verbal communication.

It was 8:00 a.m. on April 9, 1999 and I was saying goodbye to my parents at the San Francisco Airport. While I was walking away from my parent's gate I remembered the study for my Interpersonal Communication class, and decided that the airport was a perfect place to observe nonverbal behavior. I sat myself near the entrance of a gate so I could clearly focus on personal space and voice behaviors while people stood in line to board their plane. This location allowed me to observe some very distinct behaviors, and I was amazed at the many different ways people express their emotions and the many people that weren't aware of these expressions.

After I observed four different boarding lines, I soon realized how impatient our society reacts to situations. As soon as the airline attendants announced the boarding for a certain flight, it seemed as if everybody rushed to the entrance of the gate. After a casual line was formed, the majority of people made sure that their personal space was formed. Many people formed this personal space by placing luggage around them, extending a body part, or using a companion to consume space. Most people stood at least a half an arm's distance away from each other, but if this distance felt threatened people were sure to express nonverbal and sometime verbal behaviors. Some individuals gazed away and let out a loud sigh, while others would just gaze at the person invading...
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