As an assignment in my Professional Communications class we were asked to make an Ethics Statement concerning “Verbal and Nonverbal Communication.” I believe that people without knowing it are capable of communicating something even if they didn’t intend to do it. It’s the way that the motions of our body are able to tell the real story, even if what we’re saying with words is completely different. Most people who take the time to study your disposition enough are able to gather more information about you than if they just listened to you.
I know I have to be careful that I’m not meaning one thing but say another. What people hear and what is actually said is sometimes very different. If we’re not careful we can all have unethical behavior that demeans others. For example, if you speak in a patronizing vocal tone, if you scream at the less powerful, or if you touch people inappropriately, you are engaging in unethical nonverbal communication.
If you respond to others’ communication in a way that misrepresents how you actually feel, you are being unethical. If you laugh at a racist joke even though you dislike it, your behavior is unethical both because it derogates others, and because it misrepresents your true reaction to the joke. Nonverbal behaviors reflect your real attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. Without being aware of it we could be using our nonverbal behavior to intimidate, coerce, or even silence someone. Always try to remember that you are just as responsible for your nonverbal communication as you are for your verbal communication. I think if you do this you will make better and more ethical choices.