Nonverbal Communication

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Non verbal communication is all aspects of communication other than words themselves. It includes how we utter words (inflection, volume), features of environments that affect interaction (temperature, lightning), and objects that influence personal images and interaction patterns (dress, jewelry, furniture). Five key points highlight the power of nonverbal communication to affect meaning. Verbal and Nonverbal: Similar yet Different

Non verbal communication and verbal communication are similar in some ways and different in others. We will identify both the similarities and the differences. Similarities Like verbal communication, nonverbal behavior is symbolic, which means it is ambiguous, abstract, and arbitrary. Thus, we can’t be sure what a smile or gesture means, and we can’t guarantee that others understand the meanings we intend to express with our own nonverbal behaviors. Also like verbal communication, our nonverbal communication behaviors are guided by constitutive and regulative rules. In the United States, a handshake counts as a proper way to greet business acquaintances. A third similarity between the two communication systems is that both are culture bound. Our nonverbal communication reflects and reproduces values and norms of the particular culture and social communities to which we belong. For instance, dress considered appropriate for women varies across cultures. Some women in the United States wear miniskirts, women in some other countries wear veils. Dress also reflects organizational identities: Bankers, attorneys, and many other professionals are expected to wear business suits or dresses, carpenters and plumbers usually wear jeans. Lastly both verbal and nonverbal communication may be either intentional or unintentional. Sometimes we carefully sculpt our appearance, just as we sometimes control our verbal communication. For instance, in a job interview we are highly conscious of our dress and posture as well as the words we use. At...
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