March 9, 2013
Physical Appearance in Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication has many facets, but typically Physical Appearance can usually make or break certain situations. In the following we will discuss in some detail what non-verbal communication is and how physical appearance plays a part. Why does appearance matter? Does it affect our views of other cultures? Will it make it easier to accept the views of a sales representative? Will it help individuals to get a job? These are all questions that are frequently asked when physical appearance is discussed and hopefully will be answered. First let’s explore what non-verbal communication is; non-verbal communication is defined as “all aspects of communication other than words” [ (Woods, 2007) ]. This definition does amount to a rather large spectrum, so instead of getting into depth, here are just a few types; Kinesics which refers to body language, Haptics which is the sense of touch, Artifacts which refers to objects that we use to identify who we are, Proxemics which is about space and how we use it. These are just a few types of non-verbal communication but we will only be discussing physical appearance. Now that we have somewhat of an idea of what non-verbal communication can in tale let us see how physical appearance plays a role in day to day life circumstances. In a perfect world it would be nice to say that it doesn’t matter what the other person looks like but unfortunately it does matter. Just think of all the subtle judgments we make about someone based on his or her appearance [ (Cherry, 2013) ]. Take for instance as we were walking down the street we come upon an individual that looks like an out of work homeless person. Our first instinct is to steer clear and try to cross the street. We can’t be sure that he is homeless, for all we know he just ran out of clean close or has a real dirty job...