Verbal and nonverbal communication Essay
Verbal and nonverbal communication
The whole process of communication is imperative in the lives of human being because it entails enclosing information in a package imparted by the sender to a receiver through a channel (Ritchie, 2001). Normally; the receiver decodes the meaning which enables them to respond with the feedback to the sender. Communication requires that the involved parties (the sender and the receiver) have some common communication characteristics that would overall facilitate the underlying primary purpose of communication (Argyle, 2005). The process of communication comes in different types: written, verbal and non verbal communication.
Whichever way, the fundamental characteristics that prevail underscore the purpose of conveying the message(Gahagan, 2004). Verbal and nonverbal communication form the basis of this paper and include speaking by word of mouth and using paralinguistic cues like body language and eye contact to achieve the reasons of communication (Esposito, 2007). This paper attempts to explore non verbal communication and examine types of non verbal communication and the possible differences that are found in non verbal communication all over the world.
Introduction Verbal and non verbal communications are two faces of communication that abound our daily lives. They both aim at conveying a message(s), a significant element of our every day lives. Essentially, it lies at the heart of transferring information from one person to another. Like any form of communication, verbal and nonverbal communications use the components of the sender, receiver, message, channel and feedback for the complete cycle of the communication process.
Information transferred from one person to another or to a group of people, often involves the interchange of opinions and thoughts over various issues in spoken words or just signs (Julia, 2009). Our focus on this paper is to understand the differences that underlie verbal and nonverbal communication, exploring the types of non verbal communication and the difference s that may be found world over concerning non verbal communication. Analysis of Verbal and Nonverbal communication Verbal communication is a form of reciprocal conversation that involves two people or a group of people (Hinde, 2000).
It is a dialogue form of communication derived from the Greek word dia and logos which means through and speech respectively. Therefore, dialogue means a form of conversation between two or more entities (Poyatos, 2000). Its medium is language expressed through voice tonality and according to research; verbal communication forms the overall method of communication used world wide. 38 % of verbal communication impacts the general communication needs in the lives of human being, although it is the widely and consciously used form of communication (Keller, et al 2007). In most cases there is little misunderstanding between the parties involved.
The only caution to be taken is that the language used must be known to both parties and the feedback is realized instantly without waiting for another date. Non verbal communication on the other hand is the process of sending or receiving information packaged in wordless messages(Rudolph et al, 2001). This type of communication relies on gestures, facial expression, body language, posture and maintaining of eye contact. It also borders object communication such as architectural and cultural artifacts, clothing, graphics and hairstyles just to mention a few (Ritchie, 2001).
Non verbal communication plays a fundamental role in the every day lives of people, from romantic engagements to employment ventures. Ideally, this type of communication is used unconsciously since the behavioral patterns used while communicating is in most cases predetermined and goes on to reinforce verbal communication which at times is used together(Rudolph, 2000). Accordingly verbal communication contains elements of nonverbal communication such as paralinguistic cues like tonal variation, voice quality, speaking styles, emotions and several prosodic features of stress, rhythm and intonation (Esposito, 2007).
Other graphics are part of nonverbal communication because, graphics like billboard projection, or objects are in themselves a representation of words , message and meaning (Argyle, 2005). A lot of caution needs to be taken when using non verbal communication because; misunderstanding is bound to occur if the involved parties do not really understand the intended meaning of body language. Types of Non verbal Communication According to experts, a significant portion of communication in our every day lives is overly nonverbal.
Many of our life situations necessitate the use of paralinguistic cues and other forms of behavioral patterns including eye contact, facial expression, posture, tonal variation and gestures (Hinde, 2000). From our handshakes to the way we dress, we use nonverbal communication . Many research have been done to underscore the whole types that are found in non verbal communication . Facial expression: It covers the entire proportion of nonverbal communication and involves incorporating smiles, frowns and winks to convey our emotions (Gahagan, 2004).
Facial expression is dependent on the different cultures but emotions to express sadness, fear, happiness and anger are universal throughout the world. Research shows that sometimes, facial expressions are included in the verbal communication and the message conveyed altogether is somehow trusted over the contrasting message that may have been conveyed verbally (Keller et al, 2007). For example, if you have a son and you walk up to him one Sunday afternoon, only to find that he has broken a set of glasses in the kitchen. Upon asking him who broke the glasses he tells you that he does not have any idea, because he got it that way.
However, the message on his face shows all sorts of guilt, it is evidently possible to tell that he is the one who broke the glasses. As such, you will disregard all the verbal comments that your son will give. There are various types of facial expressions found in different cultures across the world. When people are happy, they tend to raise their cheeks as they smile and round their eyes. Seemingly, feelings of disgust are expressed in our faces through wrinkling our noses, raising our upper lips or lowering our eyebrows and eyelid while those of fear are shown through open mouths and around eyes (Julia, 2009).
Body movement: This type includes all sorts of kinetic body movement that have the interpretation of meaning. They include a number of categories namely; illustrators, emblems, adaptors, regulators and affects of display. Emblems include gestures that have clearly shared meaning and are done with awareness as well as with intentions to communicate (Ritchie, 2001). Illustrators on the other hand is body movements and gestures that accompany verbal stream communication like stress, accent and emphasis.
Adaptors are movements that originate from the manipulation of the person, those around him and the various objects at the heart of communication such as tapping a pen on the table or twisting ones hair. Regulators are concerned with the movements that transmit the messages of relationships such as hugs and kisses. It essentially controls the flow of speaking and listening. Finally, affect of display are movements that display inner emotions such as need to mate, anger, surprise or fear (Rudolph, 2000). Appearances and Artifact: In many cultural setup, nonverbal communication take place through artifact and appearance .
They include clothing, shelter, and other tools that can communicate status, role or taste of a given culture or persons (Rudolph et al, 2001). This form of nonverbal communication is often used to project a person’s world view and the world around them. For example, women who dress attractively are bound to have more men dating them because their appearance speaks much about them and they may as well use this type of nonverbal communication to persuade men with a lot of ease (Poyatos, 2002). Similarly our clothing communicate our world views and many people use this to determine their relationships with us.
The ongoing research on color psychology suggests that different colors embedded in appearances influence a variety of emotions and moods and the general appearance which in the long run, affects several psychological reactions, interpretations and judgment (Argyle, 2005). Body Language and Posture: These are used to convey a lot of information in the communication life of an individual. There is overwhelming number of research on the role of body language in communication but the overemphasized concept focuses on the interpretation of what is generally known as defensive postures (Esposito, 2007).
Examples of body language are crossing ones legs or arms during communication, which has been interpreted as the disinterested participation in communication between involved parties (Hinde, 2000). Much of what we verbally utter is confirmed by our body language and it has been widely accepted as the true reflection or indicator of the meaning pegged on any communication. The whole scenario of body movements can be explained in the distance adopted by people and it varies depending on the person you are talking to.
For example, women tend to move closer to someone they are talking to that men which spells out their level of trust to the subject of communication and the source of the communication process. Particularly, the distance adopted by anybody is expressed through body language and it ranges from personal distance, intimate distance social distance and somehow public distance (Poyatos, 2002). The distance you take is relative to the person you are talking to and it communicates a host of feeling such as trust.
Paralinguistic: It refers to the voice communication that is distinct from the actual language and includes all aspects of voice such as pitch, voice inflection, loudness and all that is part of tone variation (Keller et al, 2001). The effects of paralinguistic is very powerful to the meaning of the conversation. Take a case where a boss addresses his juniors with a harsh loud voice. Definitely, the interpretation that would be reached will be that the boss was angry and somehow reprimanding his junior staff from re-doing whatever caused the shouting.
Again, those in love adopt a soothing and cajoling tone that is low, to emphasis their feelings of love and intimacy (Julia, 2009). Other than the spoken words in communication, paralinguistic cues add meaning to them for coherent interpretation, hence taking the form of a non verbal communication. Adaptation of strong tonal voice enables the listener to interpret either enthusiasm, emphasis or approval while if the same words can be said in somewhat a different hesitant tone, the interpretation reached may be of lack of interest or disapproval (Gahagan, 2004).
Touch: It involves communicating through touch and other non verbal behavior. According to (Keller et al, 2007), touch has a significant role in therapy where it facilitates the harmonization of internal communication in an individual involving the succinct coordination of emotions to achieve a given biological function. It is therefore regarded as non verbal communication because it primarily takes into account the processes of communication that engages the sender, the receiver, channel and message. In this case the sender is the therapist, while the receiver is the person receiving therapy.
The underlying message becomes the therapeutic effects that are gotten after therapy (Rudolph, 2000). In the study done by Harry hallow on the classic monkey, it is evident that if touch and other bodily contacts are deprived from a child especially at infancy its overall development is impeded. Touch is an important form of nonverbal communication that promotes intimacy and fosters several other feeling like trust and sense of belonging (Julia, 2009). Proxemics: A host number of people in the ever advancing world of communication have expressed the need for space during and or in communication.
As another type of non verbal communication, Proxemics is the level of space we need and perceive as comfortable to avoid misinterpretation of our intentions. A recent survey showed that several factors aligned to our social norms, personality traits, situational factors and familiarity levels determine the social space we use to communicate our personal feeling (Gahagan, 2004). For example, the level of space we need when having a mutual casual talk usually varies according to the specifity of the situation and the relationship between you and the person you are talking to.
The distance varies between 18 inches to a few feet. Similarly, the distance required when addressing a crowd is between 10 to 12 feet. Taking such personal distance tells much about how you relate with whoever you are addressing (Keller et al, 2007). Differences of Non Verbal Communication All over the World Broadly speaking, non verbal communication falls into two categories . The non verbal message may either be produced by the body or spartio temporal setting of time and space (Poyatos, 2002). Although they look different, they still serve an important aspect of communication in the high context culture.
There exists a number of differences in non verbal communication, all spelt under the milieu of culture. These differences however, do not undermine their functions as non verbal communication . Differences are seen in the interpretation of the host of non verbal communication (Ritchie, 2001). The first difference that occurs is in general dress code, artifacts and appearance. It is a concern of all cultures across the world about how they look and a myriad of judgments about how they look has brought t out the differences in how they interpret messages that are embedded in art factual and appearance (Esposito, 2007).
For instance, in America, personal appearance and dress code symbolizes ones social class and orientation. Attractiveness in dress and appearance signals the element of modesty. Secondly, there is the difference in posture. Bowing for example is used to state the rank a person holds in the society while it is a religious preserve among the Muslims. Slouching on the other hand is used to show elements of rudeness in most Northern Europeans. Accordingly, talking while your hands are in pocket shows that you are disrespectful among the Turkish.
As sitting with crossed legs is offensive in Ghana and Turkey, it is not a big deal in America and Canada, because it may be interpreted as a relaxed posture (Poyatos, 2002). These differences on posture are gender biased since women are restricted from sing certain postures in America but at the same time, men use them. Facial expressions also elicit many differences amongst various cultural orientations in the world. The meaning attached to the somewhat identical facial expressions differ . However they share the same meaning in respect to showing anger, crying, or smiling but the intensity of facial expression vary.
For example, it is a mark able characteristic among many Asian cultures to suppress as much as possible their facial expressions. This is different from the Western culture which overly expresses their facial expressions (Ritchie, 2001). On the other hand, Latinos and Arab men exaggerate sadness and grief; American men tend to hide sorrow or grief. Among Africans women smile a lot than their male counterparts because African men perceive smiling as a sign of shallowness (Julia, 2009). The differences of eye contact are more and varied.
In the US eye contact is interpreted as a degree of interest or attention, regulates interaction influences persuasion and has a central role in managing and influencing impressions of others (Esposito, 2007). Western culture advises their growing up children to look straight into somebody’s eyes while African culture disregard eye contact and somehow use it when talking and not when listening . Similarly, Arabic cultures make use of a prolonged eye contact because, it shows truthfulness in the other person and believe that it spells out interest . Someone who avoids eye contact is seen to be untrustworthy.
Japanese, Caribbean and Latin Americans avoid the eye contact to exemplify their respect for those they are talking to (Hinde, 2000). Touch has several different beliefs and a number of questions about the rationale behind touching rings in many cultures. Koreans and the larger Asian culture do not touch strangers especially the opposite sex (Argyle, 2005). A case to point is where an African –American went to shop in a store belonging to a Korean. After paying for his goods, he waited for change only to be disappointed when the Korean store keeper, put down the change on the table.
This upset him because he believed that this was a form of another racial discrimination and concluded that the Asian refused to touch him because of his skin color (Keller et al, 2007). As a form of non verbal communication, touch is culturally sensitive with each culture having clear concepts of which body parts to touch. In US for instance, a handshake is common for strangers while hugging and kissing mainly done for close family members and those of the opposite gender. African America somehow gets irritated if touched on the get but Native Americans are fond of this especially when congratulating children.
Muslims and Hindus do not touch using the left hand because they believe that it is a symbol of social insult and stipulates less or no touching between the opposite sexes (Rudolph et al, 2001). The patterns of using touch as a form of nonverbal communication is common among the English, Germans Chinese and Japanese. Paralinguistic cues that accompany our verbal expression send different interpretation in the whole process of non verbal communication. In Japan, giggling is an indication of embarrassment and belching in India shows satisfaction.
Certain voice qualifiers like pitch tone and volume are also differently understood. Loudness for instance indicate strength among the Arabs, authority and confidence for Germans and loss of control for Japanese (Julia, 2009). This also affects the gender because many cultures accept their women folk to speak more politely, apart from the Americans where there is a lot of liberty allowing everybody to do what they feel best. At the same time a lot of differences exist in the use of vocal interjections. Conclusion
A lot of research is devoted to nonverbal communication because; the whole purpose of communication must follow few major facets of content, source, medium, receiver and feedback. Verbal communication plays a major role in the social interactions where a set of common signs and non verbal cues and arrive at a shared meaning and understanding. A lot of care however must taken to understand the possible differences that are found in various culture depending on the use of some non verbal communication, because at the heart of every communication process, desires meaning of the message need to be clearly understood.
This will help to avoid the biasness and subsequent barriers of communication. Appendix Pictures of Non Verbal communication The pictures below show examples of non verbal communication and how it is used to express different emotions (www. linkstolove. com/bodylanguage). Reference Argyle, M (2005). Bodily Communication. Massachusetts, Taylor & Francis. Esposito, A (2007). Fundamentals of Nonverbal Communication and Sociometrics. Los Angeles, IOS Press. Gahagan, J (2004). Communication and Social Interaction. New York, Routledge Hinde, R (2000), Non Verbal Communication.
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