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Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. This is a€?Nonverbal Communication Competencea€?, section 4.3 from the book A Primer on Communication Studies (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS. For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. DonorsChoose.org helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators. Identify and employ strategies for improving competence with interpreting nonverbal messages. As we age, we internalize social and cultural norms related to sending (encoding) and interpreting (decoding) nonverbal communication. People who are more nonverbally expressive typically form more positive initial impressions, because expressivity in the form of immediacy behaviors is attention getting and welcoming.
When we become more aware of the messages we are sending, we can monitor for nonverbal signals that are incongruent with other messages or may be perceived as such. As your nonverbal encoding competence increases, you can strategically manipulate your behaviors. As you get better at monitoring and controlling your nonverbal behaviors and understanding how nonverbal cues affect our interaction, you may show more competence in multiple types of communication. Last summer, during a backyard game of a€?corn holea€? with my family, my mom and sister were standing at the other board and kept whispering to each other and laughing at my dad and me.
The ability to encode appropriate turn-taking signals can help ensure that we can hold the floor when needed in a conversation or work our way into a conversation smoothly, without inappropriately interrupting someone or otherwise being seen as rude.
Part of being a good listener involves nonverbal-encoding competence, as nonverbal feedback in the form of head nods, eye contact, and posture can signal that a listener is paying attention and the speakera€™s message is received and understood. The nonverbal messages we encode also help us express our identities and play into impression management, which as we learned in Chapter 1 "Introduction to Communication Studies" is a key part of communicating to achieve identity goals. While it is important to recognize that we send nonverbal signals through multiple channels simultaneously, we can also increase our nonverbal communication competence by becoming more aware of how it operates in specific channels. The following guidelines may help you more effectively encode nonverbal messages sent using your hands, arms, body, and face. Avoiding eye contact or shifting your eye contact from place to place can lead others to think you are being deceptive or inattentive.
Although avoiding eye contact can be perceived as sign of disinterest, low confidence, or negative emotionality, eye contact avoidance can be used positively as a face-saving strategy.
Be aware of the power of emotional contagion, or the spread of emotion from one person to another.
Remember that culture, status, gender, age, and setting influence how we send and interpret touch messages. In professional and social settings, it is generally OK to touch others on the arm or shoulder. Avoid combining touch with negative criticism; a hand on the shoulder during a critical statement can increase a persona€™s defensiveness and seem condescending or aggressive. The following guidelines may help you more effectively encode nonverbal signals using paralanguage. Verbal fillers are often used subconsciously and can negatively affect your credibility and reduce the clarity of your message when speaking in more formal situations.
Vocal variety increases listener and speaker engagement, understanding, information recall, and motivation. The following may help you more effectively encode nonverbal signals related to interpersonal distances.
When breaches of personal space occur, it is a social norm to make nonverbal adjustments such as lowering our level of immediacy, changing our body orientations, and using objects to separate ourselves from others. Although pets and children are often granted more leeway to breach other peoplea€™s space, since they are still learning social norms and rules, as a pet owner, parent, or temporary caretaker, be aware of this possibility and try to prevent such breaches or correct them when they occur. The following guideline may help you more effectively encode nonverbal signals related to time. In terms of talk time and turn taking, research shows that people who take a little longer with their turn, holding the floor slightly longer than normal, are actually seen as more credible than people who talk too much or too little.Peter A. Our lateness or promptness can send messages about our professionalism, dependability, or other personality traits.
Quality time is an important part of interpersonal relationships, and sometimes time has to be budgeted so that it can be saved and spent with certain people or on certain occasionsa€”like date nights for couples or family time for parents and children or other relatives. The following guidelines may help you more effectively encode nonverbal signals related to personal presentation and environment. Recognize that personal presentation carries much weight in terms of initial impressions, so meeting the expectations and social norms for dress, grooming, and other artifactual communication is especially important for impression management. Where you choose to sit can also impact perceived characteristics and leadership decisions. We learn to decode or interpret nonverbal messages through practice and by internalizing social norms. The first guideline for decoding nonverbal communication is to realize that there is no nonverbal dictionary. The second guideline for decoding nonverbal signals is to recognize that certain nonverbal signals are related. Although cultural patterns exist, people also exhibit idiosyncratic nonverbal behavior, meaning they dona€™t always follow the norms of the group.
We will learn more specifics about nonverbal communication in relational, professional, and cultural contexts in Section 4.1 "Principles and Functions of Nonverbal Communication", but we can also gain insight into how to interpret nonverbal cues through personal contexts.
When nonverbal cues are ambiguous or contextual clues arena€™t useful in interpreting nonverbal clusters, we may have to look at nonverbal behaviors within specific channels.
GesturesAllan Pease and Barbara Pease, The Definitive Book of Body Language (New York, NY: Bantam, 2004). While it doesna€™t always mean a person is being honest, displaying palms is largely unconsciously encoded and decoded as a sign of openness and truthfulness.
We typically decode people putting their hands in their pocket as a gesture that indicates shyness or discomfort.
Nervous communicators may have distracting mannerisms in the form of adaptors that you will likely need to tune out in order to focus more on other verbal and nonverbal cues.
In terms of seated posture, leaning back is usually decoded as a sign of informality and indifference, straddling a chair as a sign of dominance (but also some insecurity because the person is protecting the vulnerable front part of his or her body), and leaning forward as a signal of interest and attentiveness.
When someone is avoiding eye contact, dona€™t immediately assume they are not listening or are hiding something, especially if you are conveying complex or surprising information.
A a€?sideways glance,a€? which entails keeping the head and face pointed straight ahead while focusing the eyes to the left or right, has multiple contradictory meanings ranging from interest, to uncertainty, to hostility.
Be aware of discrepancies between facial expressions and other nonverbal gestures and verbal communication. Since infringements on othersa€™ territory can arouse angry reactions and even lead to violence (think of the countless stories of neighbors fighting over a fence or tree), be sensitive to territorial markers. Although people rely on nonverbal communication more than verbal to determine whether or not a person is being deceptive, there is no set profile of deceptive behaviors that you can use to create your own nonverbally based lie detector. So the nonverbal behaviors that we associate with deception dona€™t actually stem from the deception but the attempts to control the leakage that results from the cognitive and physiological changes.
There are certain nonverbal cues that have been associated with deception, but the problem is that these cues are also associated with other behaviors, which could lead you to assume someone is being deceptive when they are actually nervous, guilty, or excited. The research on deception and nonverbal communication indicates that heightened arousal and increased cognitive demands contribute to the presence of nonverbal behaviors that can be associated with deception.
For each of the following scenarios, note (1) what behaviors may indicate deception, (2) alternative explanations for the behaviors (aside from deception), and (3) questions you could ask to get more information before making a judgment. To improve your competence encoding nonverbal messages, increase your awareness of the messages you are sending and receiving and the contexts in which your communication is taking place. To improve your competence decoding nonverbal messages, look for multiple nonverbal cues, avoid putting too much weight on any one cue, and evaluate nonverbal messages in relation to the context and your previous experiences with the other person. Getting integrated: As was indicated earlier, research shows that instruction in nonverbal communication can lead people to make gains in their nonverbal communication competence. To understand how chronemics relates to nonverbal communication norms, answer the following questions: In what situations is it important to be early? Oftentimes, what comes out of our mouths and what we communicate through our body language are two totally different things.
Affective articulation will be highly aware of the nonverbal communication during articulation.
Analytic articulation will be highly aware of the verbal communication during articulation. The nonverbal communication is handled almost entirely unconsciously by the bottom-up system that will be more described in more detail in the next revision of the Neojungian Typology.
Articles on page 21 science are about: Goal-directed, Dopamine (DA), Tonic & Phasic, Working memory, Striatum, Reward, Prefrontal cortex (PFC), Motivation, Salience. Articles on page 20 science are about: Reward, Dopamine (DA), Motivation, Visual fixation, Visual attention, Top-down bottom-up, Saccadic eye movements, Proactive vs reactive, Eye movements, Working memory, Tonic & Phasic, Prefrontal cortex (PFC), Behavior inhibition, Striatum.
Articles on page 67 science are about: Dual-process model, Cognitive affective, Ventral attention, Top-down bottom-up, Social mechanical, Frontoparietal control, Dorsal attention, Default mode network (DMN), Spontaneous thinking, Creative thinking, Animate vs inanimate, Saccadic eye movements.
A physical reductionism on ethics and symbolism does not discover anything new, it just shows t..
Neojungian Typology is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. In terms of sending, the tendency of children to send unmonitored nonverbal signals reduces as we get older and begin to monitor and perhaps censor or mask them.Peter A. Nonverbal cues account for much of the content from which we form initial impressions, so ita€™s important to know that people make judgments about our identities and skills after only brief exposure. If a student is talking to his professor about his performance in the class and concerns about his grade, the professor may lean forward and nod, encoding a combination of a body orientation and a head movement that conveys attention. During my years as a restaurant server I got pretty good at knowing what tables to engage with and a€?schmoozea€? a little more to get a better tip. For example, people who are more skilled at monitoring and controlling nonverbal displays of emotion report that they are more comfortable public speakers.Ronald E. Corn hole, which is also called a€?bags,a€? involves throwing a cloth sack filled with corn toward another teama€™s board with the goal of getting it in the hole or on the board to score points.
People with nonverbal encoding competence are typically more a€?in controla€? of conversations. Active listening, for example, combines good cognitive listening practices with outwardly visible cues that signal to others that we are listening. Being able to control nonverbal expressions and competently encode them allows us to better manage our persona and project a desired self to othersa€”for example, a self that is perceived as competent, socially attractive, and engaging. Although no one can truly offer you a rulebook on how to effectively send every type of nonverbal signal, there are several nonverbal guidebooks that are written from more anecdotal and less academic perspectives. I recommend that people doing phone interviews or speaking on the radio make an effort to gesture as they speak, even though people cana€™t see the gestures, because it will make their words sound more engaging. Figure out what your common adaptors are and monitor them so you can avoid creating unfavorable impressions.


Since many gestures are spontaneous or subconscious, it is important to raise your awareness of them and monitor them. To make sure someone is available for interaction and to avoid being perceived as rude, it is usually a good idea to a€?catch their eyea€? before you start talking to them.
Minimize distractions by moving a clock, closing a door, or closing window blinds to help minimize distractions that may lure your eye contact away. The notion of civil inattentionA social norm that leads us to avoid making eye contact with people in situations that deviate from expected social norms. Since facial expressions are key for emotional communication, you may be able to strategically use your facial expressions to cheer someone up, lighten a mood, or create a more serious and somber tone.
So having a more expressive voice that varies appropriately in terms of rate, pitch, and volume can help you achieve communication goals related to maintaining attention, effectively conveying information, and getting others to act in a particular way. To reduce immediacy, we engage in civil inattention and reduce the amount of eye contact we make with others. Formal timeApplies to professional situations in which we are expected to be on time or even a few minutes early.
A traditional front-facing business or educational setup is designed for one person to communicate with a larger audience. People who sit at the head or center of a table are often chosen to be leaders by others because of their nonverbal accessibilitya€”a decision which may have more to do with where the person chose to sit than the persona€™s perceived or actual leadership abilities.
Following the suggestions to become a better encoder of nonverbal communication will lead to better decoding competence through increased awareness. Some nonverbal scholars and many nonverbal skill trainers have tried to catalog nonverbal communication like we do verbal communication to create dictionary-like guides that people can use to interpret nonverbal signals. Nonverbal rulebooks arena€™t effective because they typically view a nonverbal signal in isolation, similar to how dictionaries separately list denotative definitions of words. People have idiosyncratic nonverbal behaviors, which create an individual context that varies with each person. Keep in mind that the following tips arena€™t hard and fast rules and are usually more meaningful when adapted according to a specific person or context. Conversely, crossing your arms in front of your chest is decoded almost everywhere as a negative gesture that conveys defensiveness.
Men often subconsciously put their hands in their pockets when they dona€™t want to participate in a conversation.
Since looking away also signals cognitive activity, they may be processing information, and you may need to pause and ask if they need a second to think or if they need you to repeat or explain anything more.
When the sideways glance is paired with a slightly raised eyebrow or smile, it is sign of interest. Since facial expressions are often subconscious, they may be an indicator of incongruency within a speakera€™s message, and you may need to follow up with questions or consider contextual clues to increase your understanding. In general, people who have or feel they have more social power in a situation typically engage in more touching behaviors with those with less social power.
In general, a persona€™s vocal signature is a result of the physiology of his or her neck, head, and mouth.
At universities, deans may have suites, department chairs may have large offices with multiple sitting areas, lower-ranked professors may have a€?coziera€? offices stuffed with books and file cabinets, and adjunct instructors may have a shared office or desk or no office space at all. In secondary and public territories, look for informal markers such as drinks, books, or jackets and be respectful of them when possible. Research finds that people generally perceive themselves as good detectors of deception, but when tested people only accurately detect deception at levels a little higher than what we would by random chance. These signals appear and increase because we are conflicted about the act of deception, since we are conditioned to believe that being honest is better than lying, we are afraid of getting caught and punished, and we are motivated to succeed with the act of deceptiona€”in essence, to get away with it. In general, people who are more expressive are better deceivers and people who are typically anxious are not good liars. Remember, however, that these nonverbal behaviors are not solely related to deception and also manifest as a result of other emotional or cognitive states. Behaviors mistakenly linked to deception include longer response times, slower speech rates, decreased eye contact, increased body movements, excessive swallowing, and less smiling. One of the most powerful associations between nonverbal behaviors and deception is the presence of adaptors. Deceivers tend to use more eye contact when lying to friends, perhaps to try to increase feelings of immediacy or warmth, and less eye contact when lying to strangers. People can intentionally use facial expressions to try to deceive, and there are five primary ways that this may occur.
Speech turns are often thought to correspond to deception, but there is no consensus among researchers as to the exact relationship. A politician is questioned by a reporter about allegations that she used taxpayer money to fund personal vacations.
You ask your roommate if you can borrow his car to go pick up a friend from the train station about ten miles away. A professor asks a student to explain why he didna€™t cite sources for several passages in his paper that came from various websites. Since nonverbal communication is multichannel, it is important to be aware that nonverbal cues can complement, enhance, or contradict each other. Although we put more weight on nonverbal communication than verbal when trying to detect deception, there is no set guide that can allow us to tell whether or not another person is being deceptive. List some nonverbal skills that you think are important in each of the following contexts: academic, professional, personal, and civic. This means that the bottom-up system of the brain will be used to a larger extent than for types with analytic articulation. This means that the bottom-up system of the brain will be used to a larger extent than for types with analytic listening.
This means that the top-down system of the brain will be used to a larger extent than for types with affective articulation. This means that the top-down system of the brain will be used to a larger extent than for types with affective listening.
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Our competence regarding and awareness of nonverbal communication can help determine how an interaction will proceed and, in fact, whether it will take place at all. If the professor, however, regularly breaks off eye contact and looks anxiously at her office door, then she is sending a message that could be perceived as disinterest, which is incongruent with the overall message of care and concern she probably wants to encode.
Knowing this allows us to have more control over the trajectory of our communication, possibly allowing us to intervene in a negative cycle.
Restaurant servers, bartenders, car salespeople, realtors, exotic dancers, and many others who work in a service or sales capacity know that part of a€?sealing the deala€? is making people feel liked, valued, and important. Riggio, a€?Social Interaction Skills and Nonverbal Behavior,a€? in Applications of Nonverbal Behavior Theories and Research, ed.
Our nonverbal communication works to create an unspoken and subconscious cooperation, as people move and behave in similar ways. They later told us that they were amazed at how we stood, threw our bags, and shifted position between rounds in unison. This regulating function can be useful in initial encounters when we are trying to learn more about another person and in situations where status differentials are present or compliance gaining or dominance are goals. We will learn more about active listening in Chapter 5 "Listening", but we all know from experience which nonverbal signals convey attentiveness and which convey a lack of attentiveness.
Being nonverbally expressive during initial interactions usually leads to more favorable impressions.
While these books vary tremendously in terms of their credibility and quality, some, like Allan Pease and Barbara Peasea€™s The Definitive Book of Body Language, are informative and interesting to read. Be aware that clenched hands may signal aggression or anger, nail biting or fidgeting may signal nervousness, and finger tapping may signal boredom. When I have a problem or complain in a customer service situation, I always make sure to smile at the clerk, manager, or other person before I begin talking to help minimize my own annoyance and set a more positive tone for the interaction. We also shift the front of our body away from others since it has most of our sensory inputs and also allows access to body parts that are considered vulnerable, such as the stomach, face, and genitals.Peter A.
People in the audience cannot as easily interact with each other because they cana€™t see each other face-to-face without turning. Research has found that juries often select their foreperson based on where he or she happens to sit.Peter A.
Since nonverbal communication is more ambiguous than verbal communication, we have to learn to interpret these cues as clusters within contexts.
Although those guides may contain many valid a€?rulesa€? of nonverbal communication, those rules are always relative to the individual, social, and cultural contexts in which an interaction takes place. To get a more nuanced understanding of the meaning behind nonverbal cues, we can look at them as progressive or layered. Even though we generally fit into certain social and cultural patterns, some people deviate from those norms. In addition, many of the suggestions in the section on encoding competence can be adapted usefully to decoding.
But displaying the thumb or thumbs while the rest of the hand is in the pocket is a signal of a dominant or authoritative attitude. Therefore a nasal voice or a deep voice may not have any relevant meaning within an interaction.
A persona€™s attractive or unattractive physical presentation can lead to irrelevant decoding that is distracting from other more meaningful nonverbal cues. Given that deception is so widespread and common, it is estimated that we actually only detect about half the lies that we are told, meaning we all operate on false information without even being aware of it. Anxiety is a form of arousal that leads to bodily reactions like those we experience when we perceive danger or become excited for some other reason.
Also, people who are better self-monitors are better deceivers, because they are aware of verbal and nonverbal signals that may a€?give them awaya€? and may be better able to control or account for them. Additionally, when people are falsely accused of deception, the signs that they exhibit as a result of the stress of being falsely accused are very similar to the signals exhibited by people who are actually engaging in deception. Self-touches like wringing hands and object-adaptors like playing with a pencil or messing with clothing have been shown to correlate to deception. A review of many studies of deception indicates that increased eye blinking is associated with deception, probably because of heightened arousal and cognitive activity.Peter A. People may show feelings that they do not actually have, show a higher intensity of feelings than they actually have, try to show no feelings, try to show less feeling than they actually have, or mask one feeling with another. As youa€™ll recall, verbal fillers and other speech disfluencies are studied as part of vocalics; examples include false starts, stutters, and fillers. Most studies reveal that deceivers talk less, especially in response to direct questions.Peter A. She looks straight at the reporter, crosses one leg over the other, and says, a€?Ia€™ve worked for the people of this community for ten years and no one has ever questioned my ethics until now.a€? As she speaks, she points her index finger at the politician and uses a stern and clear tone of voice. He says, a€?Um, wella€¦I had already made plans to go to dinner with Cal and he drove last time so ita€™s kind of my turn to drive this time. Also realize that the norms and expectations for sending nonverbal messages, especially touch and personal space, vary widely between relational and professional contexts.
Likewise, as we become more experienced communicators we tend to think that we become better at interpreting nonverbal messages.
People who are skilled at encoding nonverbal messages are more favorably evaluated after initial encounters.
Increasing our awareness of the multiple channels through which we send nonverbal cues can help us make our signals more congruent in the moment. For example, if you are waiting in line to get your drivera€™s license renewed and the agents in front of you are moving slower than youa€™d like and the man in front of you doesna€™t have his materials organized and is asking unnecessary questions, you might start to exhibit nonverbal clusters that signal frustration.


The strategic use of nonverbal communication to convey these messages is largely accepted and expected in our society, and as customers or patrons, we often play along because it feels good in the moment to think that the other person actually cares about us. When one person leans to the left the next person in line may also lean to the left, and this shift in posture may continue all the way down the line to the end, until someone else makes another movement and the whole line shifts again. Although my dad and I didna€™t realize we were doing it, our subconscious mirroring was obviously noticeable to others.
Although close friends, family, and relational partners can sometimes be an exception, interrupting is generally considered rude and should be avoided. Listeners are expected to make more eye contact with the speaker than the speaker makes with them, so ita€™s important to a€?listen with your eyesa€? by maintaining eye contact, which signals attentiveness.
So smiling, keeping an attentive posture, and offering a solid handshake help communicate confidence and enthusiasm that can be useful on a first date, during a job interview, when visiting family for the holidays, or when running into an acquaintance at the grocery store. Becoming a higher self-monitor can help you notice your use of verbal fillers and begin to eliminate them.
You generally wouldna€™t want to be late for work, a job interview, a medical appointment, and so on.
A horseshoe or circular arrangement allows everyone to make eye contact and facilitates interaction. My favorite way to increase my knowledge about nonverbal communication is to engage in people watching. In short, you cana€™t read peoplea€™s nonverbal communication like a book, and there are no A-to-Z guides that capture the complexity of nonverbal communication.Peter J. For example, some cultures tend toward less touching and greater interpersonal distances during interactions.
Try not to focus on something you find unpleasant or pleasant about someonea€™s voice; focus on the content rather than the vocal quality. Although this may be disappointing to those of you reading who like to think of yourselves as human lie detectors, there are some forces working against our deception detecting abilities. Some of these reactions are visible, such as increased movements, and some are audible, such as changes in voice pitch, volume, or rate.
Our cognitive activity increases when we have to decide whether to engage in deception or not, which often involves some internal debate. Research also shows that people get better at lying as they get older, because they learn more about the intricacies of communication signals and they also get more time to practice.Peter A. Studies also show that an increase in verbal pitch is associated with deception and is likely caused by heightened arousal and tension. Which, if any, of the nonverbal cues discussed do you think help you deceive others or give you away?
In this section we will discuss some strategies for effectively encoding and decoding nonverbal messages. This is likely due to the fact that people who are more nonverbally expressive are also more attention getting and engaging and make people feel more welcome and warm due to increased immediacy behaviors, all of which enhance perceptions of charisma.
You might cross your arms, a closing-off gesture, and combine that with wrapping your fingers tightly around one bicep and occasionally squeezing, which is a self-touch adaptor that results from anxiety and stress. Using nonverbals that are intentionally deceptive and misleading can have negative consequences and cross the line into unethical communication. This phenomenon is known as mirroringThe often subconscious practice of using nonverbal cues that match those of others around us., which refers to the often subconscious practice of using nonverbal cues in a way that match those of others around us. Mirroring is largely innate and subconscious, but we can more consciously use it and a variety of other nonverbal signals, like the immediacy behaviors we discussed earlier, to help create social bonds and mutual liking. Even though verbal communication is most often used to interrupt another person, interruptions are still studied as a part of chronemics because it interferes with another persona€™s talk time.
Listeners should also avoid distracting movements in the form of self, other, and object adaptors. Beginner speakers can often reduce their use of verbal fillers noticeably over just a short period of time. When we cana€™t shift our bodies, we often use coats, bags, books, or our hands to physically separate or block off the front of our bodies from others. Informal timeApplies to casual and interpersonal situations in which there is much more variation in terms of expectations for promptness. Just by consciously taking in the variety of nonverbal signals around us, we can build our awareness and occasionally be entertained. DePaulo, a€?Applications of Nonverbal Behavior Research in Marketing and Management,a€? Applications of Nonverbal Behavior Theories and Research, ed.
The United States falls into this general category, but there are people who were socialized into these norms who as individuals deviate from them and touch more and stand closer to others while conversing. One such force is the truth biasOur tendency to believe that people are telling the truth, especially if we know and like them., which leads us to believe that a person is telling the truth, especially if we know and like that person. Other reactions, such as changes in the electrical conductivity of the skin, increased breathing, and increased heart rate, are not always detectable. If we decide to engage in deception, we then have to compose a fabrication or execute some other manipulation strategy that we think is believable. As wea€™ve learned, people also tend to give more weight to nonverbal than verbal cues when evaluating the truthfulness of a person or her or his message. You know I dona€™t mind sharing things with you, and I would totally let you, you know, if I didna€™t have this thing to do.
I did look at several websites, but I didna€™t directly quote anything so I didna€™t think I needed to put the citations in parentheses.a€? As he says this, he rubs the back of his neck and then scratches his face and only makes minimal eye contact with the professor.
As wea€™ve already learned, we receive little, if any, official instruction in nonverbal communication, but you can think of this chapter as a training manual to help improve your own nonverbal communication competence.
Congruent nonverbal communication is more credible and effective than ambiguous or conflicting nonverbal cues. The longer you stand like that, the more frustrated and defensive you will become, because that nonverbal cluster reinforces and heightens your feelings.
Since speakers become more nervous when they think that audience members are able to detect their nervousness based on outwardly visible, mostly nonverbal cues, it is logical that confidence in onea€™s ability to control those outwardly visible cues would result in a lessening of that common fear. Instead of interrupting, you can use nonverbal signals like leaning in, increasing your eye contact, or using a brief gesture like subtly raising one hand or the index finger to signal to another person that youa€™d like to soon take the floor.
Being a higher self-monitor can help you catch nonverbal signals that might signal that you arena€™t listening, at which point you could consciously switch to more active listening signals. Research has also found that students who are more nonverbally expressive are liked more by their teachers and are more likely to have their requests met by their teachers.Timothy P.
For example, a comfortable sofa may bring four people together, but eye contact among all four is nearly impossible if theya€™re all facing the same direction. Skilled decoders of nonverbal messages are said to have nonverbal sensitivity, which, very similarly to skilled encoders, leads them to have larger social networks, be more popular, and exhibit less social anxiety.Ronald E.
Instead, he or she would likely start with one and then layer more cues on as the feelings intensified. As the idiosyncratic communicator inches toward his or her conversational partner, the partner may inch back to reestablish the interpersonal distance norm. Conversely, people who have interpersonal trust issues and people in occupations like law enforcement may also have a lie bias, meaning they assume people are lying to them more often than not.Peter A.
Polygraph machines, or lie detectors, work on the principle that the presence of signs of arousal is a reliable indicator of deception in situations where other factors that would also evoke such signals are absent.
To make things more complicated, we usually tailor our manipulation strategy to the person to whom we are speaking. Studies have found that actors, politicians, lawyers, and salespeople are also better liars, because they are generally higher self-monitors and have learned how to suppress internal feelings and monitor their external behaviors.
This predisposition can lead us to focus on nonverbal cues while overlooking verbal signals of deception. Sorry.a€? As he says, a€?Sorry,a€? he raises both of his hands, with his palms facing toward you, and shrugs. As with all aspects of communication, improving your nonverbal communication takes commitment and continued effort. Even though you may intend for your nonverbal messages to be congruent, they could still be decoded in a way that doesna€™t match up with your intent, especially since nonverbal expressions vary in terms of their degree of conscious encoding.
Ia€™m just like you.a€? Mirroring evolved as an important social function in that it allowed early humans to more easily fit in with larger groups.
For example, when I lived in a large city, people often arrived to dinner parties or other social gatherings about thirty minutes after the announced time, given the possibility of interference by heavy traffic or peoplea€™s hectic schedules. If we notice that a person is starting to build related signals like the ones above onto one another, we might be able to intervene in the negative reaction that is building. Such deviations may lead people to misinterpret sexual or romantic interest or feel uncomfortable. In short, lying isna€™t easy, as it requires us to go against social norms and deviate from our comfortable and familiar communication scripts that we rely on for so much of our interaction.
A large study found that people were better able to detect deception by sound alone than they were when exposed to both auditory and visual cues.Peter A. However, research shows that education and training in nonverbal communication can lead to quick gains in knowledge and skill.Ronald E. In this sense, the multichannel nature of nonverbal communication creates the potential of both increased credibility and increased ambiguity. Logically, early humans who were more successful at mirroring were more likely to secure food, shelter, and security and therefore passed that genetic disposition on down the line to us. Now that I live in a smaller town in the Midwest, Ia€™ve learned that people are expected to arrive at or close to the announced time.
Rather than using a list of specific rules, I suggest people develop more general tools that will be useful in and adaptable to a variety of contexts. Of course, as nonverbal cues are layered on, they may contradict other signals, in which case we can turn to context clues to aid our interpretation. Of course, skilled and experienced deceivers develop new scripts that can also become familiar and comfortable and allow them to engage in deception without arousing as much anxiety or triggering the physical reactions to it.Peter A. For most social meetings with one other person or a small group, you can be five minutes late without having to offer much of an apology or explanation. As this example shows, these individual differences can increase the ambiguity of nonverbal communication, but when observed over a period of time, they can actually help us generate meaning. Aside from nonverbal cues, also listen for inconsistencies in or contradictions between statements, which can also be used to tell when others are being deceptive. Paulsel, a€?The Effects of Student Verbal and Nonverbal Responsiveness on Teachersa€™ Liking of Students and Willingness to Comply with Student Requests,a€? Communication Quarterly 52, no.
For larger social gatherings you can usually be fifteen minutes late as long as your late arrival doesna€™t interfere with the hosta€™s plans or preparations.
Try to compare observed nonverbal cues to a persona€™s typical or baseline nonverbal behavior to help avoid misinterpretation. The following are some nonverbal signals that have been associated with deception in research studies, but be cautious about viewing these as absolutes since individual and contextual differences should also be considered. In some instances it is impossible to know what sorts of individual nonverbal behaviors or idiosyncrasies people have because there isna€™t a relational history. Additionally, once the initial effort is put into improving your nonverbal encoding and decoding skills and those new skills are put into practice, people are encouraged by the positive reactions from others. In such cases, we have to turn to our knowledge about specific types of nonverbal communication or draw from more general contextual knowledge. Remember that people enjoy interacting with others who are skilled at nonverbal encoding and decoding, which will be evident in their reactions, providing further motivation and encouragement to hone your skills.



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