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Non-verbal communication II

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said, Peter F. Drucker.

Some examples of non-verbal communication are:

However, excessive and long eye contact without blinking is usually counter-productive because it can bring on sudden discomfort. This may be considered disrespectful, rude, and hostile.

Blinking rate is also important. It usually increases when people are thinking hard, feeling stressed, anxious, or angry. Dilated pupils show a favourable response, people are interested, paying attention, and willing to interact.

  1. Public distance. It is considered to be at least 12 feet (three and a half metres) between a teacher or lecturer and his/her audience. It is reserved for strangers and large audiences, such as, speeches, lectures, and theatre. school

    school

    3. Social distance. It is observed amongst formal acquaintances, working colleagues, business associates, consumers and shop assistants, and strangers and casual friends in the workplace, shopping mall or school. It goes from 4 to 12 feet (1.2 to 3.6 metres). kidsFriends

    kidsFriends

    5. Personal distance. It is from about 1.5 feet (0.45 metres) to around 4 feet (1.2 metres). It is used for talking and interacting with family and close friends. talking2

    talking2

    7. Intimate distance. This is private space, it is typically used for very confidential and close communication. It is reserved for good friends and romantic partners. Making love, hugging, kissing, shaking hands, etc. are all performed at this distance.
kiss

kiss

A closer distance shows more confidence, friendship, and intimacy. Be careful not to invade personal space, because by doing so people will feel uncomfortable, uneasy, defensive, vulnerable and even angry - this situation will take the focus away from the conversation. If you need to invade this private space, for example in an elevator, be very cautious: avoid looking at other people, try not to move, keep an expressionless face, etc.

Although “the habit does not make the monk”, many believe that outward appearances reflect inward reality. They affect almost every aspect of our lives, how we are perceived and judged daily, how we feel about ourselves, etc. People make negative assumptions based on a disheveled appearance.

Appearances impact first impressions, and thus, the effectiveness of subsequent communication relies heavily upon them. For example, attractive people are more effective sellers and more persuasive communicators than less attractive people. A sexy outfit can signal promiscuity and sexual availability. Punks reject the dominant culture and “seek to outrage others with the highly theatrical use of clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics, tattoos, jewellery and body modification,” Wikipedia, Punk subculture.

Punky

Punky

- Facial expressions. They usually show emotions and feelings, for example, a smile expresses joy and happiness; on the contrary, a frown indicates sadness or anger, raised eyebrows show surprise or fear, etc.I happy

happy

- Paralanguage. Volume: loud volume expresses anger, confidence, aggression, and excitement. On the contrary, low volume may indicate shyness, patience, lack of self-confidence, fear, etc. The accent identifies a speaker’s origin, his/her ethnicity, social class, etc. Prosody is the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech. For instance, if you speak too slowly with long pauses, people get bored and you may appear to them as insecure and lacking in self-confidence.

Try not to talk in a monotone voice, but speak clearly, use a natural pace, and vary the pitch and speed of your voice for emphasis and effect as you talk.

  1. Emblematic gestures are culturally specific, unambiguous, and easily recognisable. They usually have a clear and precise meaning. They include a beckoning first finger to mean “come here,” a waving hand for “hello” or “goodbye,” the ‘OK’ sign with the thumb and index finger forming a circle or the “thumbs-up” gesture to signify a job well done. To give someone the finger is one of the most universal obscene hand gestures, it is a rude insult. approval

    approval

    3. Illustrator gestures are used to enhance, clarify, emphasize, or illustrate what is being said verbally. Examples of illustrators are: pointing to the direction being described, using hands to show an object’s size or shape, etc. Illustrator

    Illustrator

    5. Affect displays express our emotions, how we feel at a given moment. For example, we cover our eyes with our hands when we feel ashamed. They include facial expressions, such as smiling, laughing, crying or frowning. crying

    crying

    7. Regulators are gestures that synchronize, adjust, or control the flow of speech. They are culture-specific. For example, we shake our heads in order to encourage others to keep talking. We raise our hand to show others that we want to speak. We yawn and look at our mobile phones when we are bored and not interested in the conversation. yawning

    yawning

    9. Adapters are personal and unconscious gestures that are used to satisfy some personal need. They are used to release tension, to feel better or to perform a specific physical function. For instance, scratching an itch, shifting position while sitting, adjusting spectacles in a tense situation, playing with a ring or pen, smoking, etc.
smoking

smoking

Some examples include: giving something to someone without expecting anything in return, letting the other person talk first, greeting everyone with a smile, giving way to others, picking up the phone and calling someone who has suffered a loss, visiting someone in the hospital, etc.

The silent treatment or the cold shoulder is something to be avoided. People stop talking for long periods of time while growing increasingly distant and indifferent.

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