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Understanding your body language and other physical queues is very important when you are presenting material in front of an audience. Non-verbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages.
One study at UCLA found that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Body language is a form of non-verbal communication involving the use of stylized gestures, postures, and physiologic signs which act as cues to other people.
Gestures of direction, size, shape, description, feeling, and intensity are all effective when speaking. People who are excellent communicators are sensitive to the power of the emotions and thoughts communicated non-verbally through signals. This is a€?Principles and Functions of Nonverbal Communicationa€?, section 4.1 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. As youa€™ll recall from our introductory chapter, a channel is the sensory route on which a message travels. To further define nonverbal communication, we need to distinguish between vocal and verbal aspects of communication. Nonverbal communication has a distinct history and serves separate evolutionary functions from verbal communication. Youa€™ve probably heard that more meaning is generated from nonverbal communication than from verbal. About 65 percent of the meaning we derive during interactions comes from nonverbal communication. The involuntary nature of much nonverbal communication makes it more difficult to control or a€?fake.a€? For example, although you can consciously smile a little and shake hands with someone when you first see them, ita€™s difficult to fake that youa€™re a€?happya€? to meet someone. Have you ever tried to conceal your surprise, suppress your anger, or act joyful even when you werena€™t? In Chapter 3 "Verbal Communication", we learn that the symbolic and abstract nature of language can lead to misunderstandings, but nonverbal communication is even more ambiguous. Just as we look at context clues in a sentence or paragraph to derive meaning from a particular word, we can look for context clues in various sources of information like the physical environment, other nonverbal signals, or verbal communication to make sense of a particular nonverbal cue.
Although we can rely on verbal communication to fill in the blanks sometimes left by nonverbal expressions, we often put more trust into what people do over what they say. A primary function of nonverbal communication is to convey meaning by reinforcing, substituting for, or contradicting verbal communication. Nonverbal communication conveys meaning by reinforcing, substituting for, or contradicting verbal communication. Nonverbal communication is also useful in a quiet situation where verbal communication would be disturbing; for example, you may use a gesture to signal to a friend that youa€™re ready to leave the library.
Nonverbal communication can be used to influence people in a variety of ways, but the most common way is through deception. The fact that deception served an important evolutionary purpose helps explain its prevalence among humans today. Aside from deception, we can use nonverbal communication to a€?take the edge offa€? a critical or unpleasant message in an attempt to influence the reaction of the other person. Conversational interaction has been likened to a dance, where each person has to make moves and take turns without stepping on the othera€™s toes. To successfully relate to other people, we must possess some skill at encoding and decoding nonverbal communication. Tie signsNonverbal cues that communicate intimacy and signal the connection between two people. Immediacy behaviors play a central role in bringing people together and have been identified by some scholars as the most important function of nonverbal communication.Peter A. While verbal communication is our primary tool for solving problems and providing detailed instructions, nonverbal communication is our primary tool for communicating emotions. A considerable amount of research has been done on teachersa€™ use of immediacy behaviors, which points to the importance of this communication concept in teaching professions.Virginia P. Teachers who are judged as less immediate are more likely to sit, touch their heads, shake instead of nod their heads, use sarcasm, avoid eye contact, and use less expressive nonverbal behaviors. How much should immediacy behaviors, relative to other characteristics such as professionalism, experience, training, and content knowledge, factor into the evaluation of teachers by their students, peers, and supervisors?
Aside from our physical body, artifactsPossessions that communicate our identities., which are the objects and possessions that surround us, also communicate our identities. Nonverbal communication is a process of generating meaning using behavior other than words.
Although verbal communication and nonverbal communication work side by side as part of a larger language system, there are some important differences between the two. Nonverbal communication operates on the following principles: nonverbal communication typically conveys more meaning than verbal communication, nonverbal communication is more involuntary than verbal communication, nonverbal communication is often more ambiguous than verbal communication, and nonverbal communication is often more credible than verbal communication. Nonverbal communication affects verbal communication in that it can complement, reinforce, substitute, or contradict verbal messages. Nonverbal communication influences others, as it is a key component of deception and can be used to assert dominance or to engage in compliance gaining.
Nonverbal communication regulates conversational flow, as it provides important cues that signal the beginning and end of conversational turns and facilitates the beginning and end of an interaction. Nonverbal communication affects relationships, as it is a primary means through which we communicate emotions, establish social bonds, and engage in relational maintenance.
Nonverbal communication expresses our identities, as who we are is conveyed through the way we set up our living and working spaces, the clothes we wear, our personal presentation, and the tones in our voices. Getting integrated: To better understand nonverbal communication, try to think of an example to illustrate each of the four principles discussed in the chapter. When someone sends you a mixed message in which the verbal and nonverbal messages contradict each other, which one do you place more meaning on? Our personal presentation, style of dress, and surroundings such as a dorm room, apartment, car, or office send nonverbal messages about our identities. Regardless of field, presentation has become essential these days and for making effective presentations PowerPoint is being a most employed tool as it makes presentation easy to follow. Whether you are the manager or the subordinate, communication forms the most vital part of your everyday work methodology.
Adding to your well-planned presentation the enhancement of verbal dexterity, is  like icing on the cake you baked with so much love. It will be the person who does not knowhow to learn." - Alvin Toffler, American writer-futurist (1928- ).
Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by non-verbal communication. Humans unconsciously send and receive non- verbal signals through body language all the time. By paying closer attention to other people's nonverbal behaviors, you will improve your own ability to communicate nonverbally. For example, using an animated tone of voice emphasizes your enthusiasm for a participant’s contribution in a debrief session.
If they do not, people will tend to pay less attention to what you said, and focus instead on your nonverbal signals. While most people are not gifted with a radio announcer’s voice, we can learn to improve our tone of voice. 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. Oral communication only relies on one channel, because spoken language is transmitted through sound and picked up by our ears. Verbal and nonverbal communication include both vocal and nonvocal elements, and Table 4.1 "Vocal and Nonvocal Elements of Communication" shows the relationship among vocal, nonvocal, verbal, and nonverbal aspects of communication.


For example, nonverbal communication is primarily biologically based while verbal communication is primarily culturally based.
Some studies have claimed that 90 percent of our meaning is derived from nonverbal signals, but more recent and reliable findings claim that it is closer to 65 percent.Laura K. Most people whose careers dona€™t involve conscious manipulation of nonverbal signals find it difficult to control or suppress them. As with verbal communication, most of our nonverbal signals can be linked to multiple meanings, but unlike words, many nonverbal signals do not have any one specific meaning.
Unlike verbal communication, however, nonverbal communication doesna€™t have explicit rules of grammar that bring structure, order, and agreed-on patterns of usage. This is especially true in times of stress or danger when our behaviors become more instinctual and we rely on older systems of thinking and acting that evolved before our ability to speak and write.Peter A. As wea€™ve already learned, verbal and nonverbal communication are two parts of the same system that often work side by side, helping us generate meaning. Nonverbal communication can convey much meaning when verbal communication isna€™t effective because of language barriers. Crowded or loud places can also impede verbal communication and lead people to rely more on nonverbal messages. As we learned earlier, we often perceive nonverbal communication to be more credible than verbal communication. Deception is typically thought of as the intentional act of altering information to influence another person, which means that it extends beyond lying to include concealing, omitting, or exaggerating information.
Nonverbal communication helps us regulate our conversations so we dona€™t end up constantly interrupting each other or waiting in awkward silences between speaker turns.
The nonverbal messages we send and receive influence our relationships in positive and negative ways and can work to bring people together or push them apart. This makes sense when we remember that nonverbal communication emerged before verbal communication and was the channel through which we expressed anger, fear, and love for thousands of years of human history.Peter A. What, if anything, should schools do to enhance teachersa€™ knowledge of immediacy behaviors? Our identities (the groups to which we belong, our cultures, our hobbies and interests, etc.) are conveyed nonverbally through the way we set up our living and working spaces, the clothes we wear, the way we carry ourselves, and the accents and tones of our voices.
Nonverbal communication includes vocal elements, which is referred to as paralanguage and includes pitch, volume, and rate, and nonvocal elements, which are usually referred to as body language and includes gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact, among other things. They are processed by different hemispheres of the brain, nonverbal communication conveys more emotional and affective meaning than does verbal communication, nonverbal communication isna€™t governed by an explicit system of rules in the same way that grammar guides verbal communication, and while verbal communication is a uniquely human ability, many creatures including plants, birds, and mammals communicate nonverbally.
Be integrative in your approach by including at least one example from an academic, professional, civic, and personal context.
We are communicating a message at every stage, not necessarily verbally, it can be written or even through our gestures. When preparing for a presentation, remember to follow certain norms and be on the trail with care. That’s made me think about how important it is to listen to people, to allow people to communicate with you. Combined they make up the complete communication package that you use when you are presenting your material. It will take getting used to pitching your voice down an octave, but it will be worth the effort. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (291 MB) or just this chapter (14 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline).
This is evidenced by the fact that some nonverbal communication has the same meaning across cultures while no verbal communication systems share that same universal recognizability.Peter A. For example, we say a€?owww!a€? when we stub our toe or scream a€?stop!a€? when we see someone heading toward danger.
Spokespeople, lawyers, or other public representatives who are the a€?facea€? of a politician, celebrity, corporation, or organization must learn to control their facial expressions and other nonverbal communication so they can effectively convey the message of their employer or client without having their personal thoughts and feelings leak through. While we can consciously decide to stop sending verbal messages, our nonverbal communication always has the potential of generating meaning for another person. If youa€™ve ever had someone wink at you and didna€™t know why, youa€™ve probably experienced this uncertainty. Instead, we implicitly learn norms of nonverbal communication, which leads to greater variance. Perhaps even more important are the ways in which nonverbal communication functions as a central part of relational communication and identity expression. In terms of reinforcing verbal communication, gestures can help describe a space or shape that another person is unfamiliar with in ways that words alone cannot.
Language barriers are present when a person hasna€™t yet learned to speak or loses the ability to speak. Getting a server or bartendera€™s attention with a hand gesture is definitely more polite than yelling, a€?Hey you!a€? Finally, there are just times when we know ita€™s better not to say something aloud.
This is especially true when we receive mixed messagesMessages in which verbal and nonverbal signals contradict each other., or messages in which verbal and nonverbal signals contradict each other. While verbal communication is to blame for the content of the deception, nonverbal communication partners with the language through deceptive acts to be more convincing.
Other animals engage in nonverbal deception that helps them attract mates, hide from predators, and trap prey.Peter A. For example, hungry diners waiting to snag a first-come-first-serve table in a crowded restaurant send messages to the people who have already eaten and paid that ita€™s time to go. Pitch, which is a part of vocalics, helps us cue others into our conversational intentions. Nonverbal communication in the form of tie signs, immediacy behaviors, and expressions of emotion are just three of many examples that illustrate how nonverbal communication affects our relationships. These relational indicators can be objects such as wedding rings or tattoos that are symbolic of another person or the relationship, actions such as sharing the same drinking glass, or touch behaviors such as hand-holding.Walid A. Andersen, a€?Measures of Perceived Nonverbal Immediacy,a€? in The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures: Going beyond Words, ed. Immediacy behaviors help establish rapport, which is a personal connection that increases studentsa€™ investment in the class and material, increases motivation, increases communication between teacher and student, increases liking, creates a sense of mutual respect, reduces challenging behavior by students, and reduces anxiety. Our physical bodies give others impressions about who we are, and some of these features are more under our control than others. In all the previous examples, implicit norms or explicit rules can affect how we nonverbally present ourselves. Your communication skills at your workplace defines the rate of advancement of your learning curve too.
If a conflict arises between your words and your body language, your body language governs. Listening requires concentration so that the brain processes meaning from words and sentences.
Since most of our communication relies on visual and auditory channels, those will be the focus of this chapter. Nonvocal elements of verbal communication include the use of unspoken symbols to convey meaning. Involuntary nonverbal signals are much more common, and although most nonverbal communication isna€™t completely involuntary, it is more below our consciousness than verbal communication and therefore more difficult to control. Poker players, therapists, police officers, doctors, teachers, and actors are also in professions that often require them to have more awareness of and control over their nonverbal communication. The teenager who decides to shut out his dad and not communicate with him still sends a message with his a€?blanka€? stare (still a facial expression) and lack of movement (still a gesture). Did they wink to express their affection for you, their pleasure with something you just did, or because you share some inside knowledge or joke? In general, we exhibit more idiosyncrasies in our usage of nonverbal communication than we do with verbal communication, which also increases the ambiguity of nonverbal communication.
This innateness creates intuitive feelings about the genuineness of nonverbal communication, and this genuineness relates back to our earlier discussion about the sometimes involuntary and often subconscious nature of nonverbal communication.
Gestures also reinforce basic meaninga€”for example, pointing to the door when you tell someone to leave. If you want to point out a persona€™s unusual outfit or signal to a friend that you think his or her date is a loser, youa€™re probably more likely to do that nonverbally. For example, a person may say, a€?You cana€™t do anything right!a€? in a mean tone but follow that up with a wink, which could indicate the person is teasing or joking. Since most of us intuitively believe that nonverbal communication is more credible than verbal communication, we often intentionally try to control our nonverbal communication when we are engaging in deception. People on competition reality television shows like Survivor and Big Brother play what theya€™ve come to term a a€?social game.a€? The social aspects of the game involve the manipulation of verbal and nonverbal cues to send strategic messages about oneself in an attempt to influence others.


A rising pitch typically indicates a question and a falling pitch indicates the end of a thought or the end of a conversational turn. McCroskey, a€?Teacher Immediacy and the Teacher-Student Relationship,a€? in Handbook of Instructional Communication: Rhetorical and Relational Perspectives, eds. Height, for example, has been shown to influence how people are treated and perceived in various contexts. For example, in a particular workplace it may be a norm (implicit) for people in management positions to dress casually, or it may be a rule (explicit) that different levels of employees wear different uniforms or follow particular dress codes.
Writing and American Sign Language (ASL) are nonvocal examples of verbal communication and are not considered nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication also evolved earlier than verbal communication and served an early and important survival function that helped humans later develop verbal communication.
An example of the innateness of nonverbal signals can be found in children who have been blind since birth but still exhibit the same facial expressions as other children. Mixed messages lead to uncertainty and confusion on the part of receivers, which leads us to look for more information to try to determine which message is more credible.
Likewise, we try to evaluate other peoplea€™s nonverbal communication to determine the veracity of their messages.
To put it bluntly, the better at deception a creature is, the more likely it is to survive.
Nonverbal cues such as length of conversational turn, volume, posture, touch, eye contact, and choices of clothing and accessories can become part of a playera€™s social game strategy. Johnson, a€?The Nature and Function of Tie-Signs,a€? in The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures: Going beyond Words, ed. Immediacy behaviorsVerbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators. Love is a primary emotion that we express nonverbally and that forms the basis of our close relationships.
We can also use nonverbal communication to express identity characteristics that do not match up with who we actually think we are. Touch is an especially powerful form of nonverbal communication that we will discuss in this chapter, but we will not get into taste and smell, which have not received as much scholarly attention in relation to nonverbal communication as the other senses. Nonvocal elements of nonverbal communication include body language such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. While some of our nonverbal communication abilities, like our sense of smell, lost strength as our verbal capacities increased, other abilities like paralanguage and movement have grown alongside verbal complexity.
For example, when someone asks a question and wea€™re not sure about the a€?anglea€? they are taking, we may hone in on nonverbal cues to fill in the meaning. In short, the involuntary or subconscious nature of nonverbal communication makes it less easy to fake, which makes it seem more honest and credible. People who have developed language skills but cana€™t use them because they have temporarily or permanently lost them or because they are using incompatible language codes, like in some cross-cultural encounters, can still communicate nonverbally.
Students initially seem surprised when we discuss the prevalence of deception, but their surprise diminishes once they realize that deception isna€™t always malevolent, mean, or hurtful.
So, over time, the humans that were better liars were the ones that got their genes passed on. Although reality television isna€™t a reflection of real life, people still engage in competition and strategically change their communication to influence others, making it important to be aware of how we nonverbally influence others and how they may try to influence us. Although no single facial expression for love has been identified, it is expressed through prolonged eye contact, close interpersonal distances, increased touch, and increased time spent together, among other things. Although we can temporarily alter our height or looksa€”for example, with different shoes or different color contact lensesa€”we can only permanently alter these features using more invasive and costly measures such as cosmetic surgery. Through changes to nonverbal signals, a capable person can try to appear helpless, a guilty person can try to appear innocent, or an uninformed person can try to appear credible. Gestures are nonvocal and nonverbal since most of them do not refer to a specific word like a written or signed symbol does. The fact that nonverbal communication is processed by an older part of our brain makes it more instinctual and involuntary than verbal communication. For example, the question a€?What are you doing tonight?a€? could mean any number of things, but we could rely on posture, tone of voice, and eye contact to see if the person is just curious, suspicious, or hinting that they would like company for the evening. We will learn more about the role that nonverbal communication plays in deception later in this chapter.
Although ita€™s always a good idea to learn some of the local language when you travel, gestures such as pointing or demonstrating the size or shape of something may suffice in basic interactions.
Deception obviously has negative connotations, but people engage in deception for many reasons, including to excuse our own mistakes, to be polite to others, or to influence othersa€™ behaviors or perceptions.
But the fact that lying played a part in our survival as a species doesna€™t give us a license to lie. Conversely, we can a€?hold the floora€? with nonverbal signals even when wea€™re not exactly sure what wea€™re going to say next. Touch behaviors are the most frequently studied tie signs and can communicate much about a relationship based on the area being touched, the length of time, and the intensity of the touch. Given many peoplea€™s limited emotional vocabulary, nonverbal expressions of emotion are central to our relationships. We have more control over some other aspects of nonverbal communication in terms of how we communicate our identities. We also put more weight on nonverbal communication when determining a persona€™s credibility.
Vocal variation can help us emphasize a particular part of a message, which helps reinforce a word or sentencea€™s meaning. Persistent mixed messages can lead to relational distress and hurt a persona€™s credibility in professional settings. Repeating a hand gesture or using one or more verbal fillers can extend our turn even though we are not verbally communicating at the moment.
Kisses and hugs, for example, are considered tie signs, but a kiss on the cheek is different from a kiss on the mouth and a full embrace is different from a half embrace. For example, the way we carry and present ourselves through posture, eye contact, and tone of voice can be altered to present ourselves as warm or distant depending on the context. For example, if a classmate delivers a speech in class and her verbal content seems well-researched and unbiased, but her nonverbal communication is poor (her voice is monotone, she avoids eye contact, she fidgets), she will likely not be viewed as credible. If you consider yourself a a€?people watcher,a€? take note of the various tie signs you see people use and what they might say about the relationship. Simonds, a€?The Effects of Teacher Clarity, Nonverbal Immediacy, and Caring on Student Motivation, Affective and Cognitive Learning,a€? Communication Research Reports 24, no. Immediacy behaviors are verbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators.Mark E.
Conversely, in some situations, verbal communication might carry more meaning than nonverbal. In interactions where information exchange is the focus, at a briefing at work, for example, verbal communication likely accounts for much more of the meaning generated. Immediacy behaviors are a good way of creating rapport, or a friendly and positive connection between people. Skilled nonverbal communicators are more likely to be able to create rapport with others due to attention-getting expressiveness, warm initial greetings, and an ability to get a€?in tunea€? with others, which conveys empathy.Ronald E. Riggio, a€?Social Interaction Skills and Nonverbal Behavior,a€? in Applications of Nonverbal Behavior Theories and Research, ed.
Specific nonverbal behaviors have been found to increase or decrease perceived levels of immediacy, and such behaviors impact student learning, teachera€™s evaluations, and the teacher-student relationship.Virginia P.
Even those who do not plan on going into teaching as a career can benefit from learning about immediacy behaviors, as they can also be used productively in other interpersonal contexts such as between a manager and employee, a salesperson and a client, or a politician and constituent. Much of this research in teaching contexts has focused on the relationship between immediacy behaviors and student learning, and research consistently shows that effective use of immediacy behaviors increases learning in various contexts and at various levels. Aside from enhancing student learning, the effective use of immediacy behaviors also leads to better evaluations by students, which can have a direct impact on a teachera€™s career. While student evaluations of teachers take various factors into consideration, judgments of personality may be formed, as we learned in Chapter 2 "Communication and Perception", after only brief initial impressions. Research shows that students make character assumptions about teachers after only brief exposure to their nonverbal behaviors. Based on nonverbal cues such as frowning, head nodding, pointing, sitting, smiling, standing, strong gestures, weak gestures, and walking, students may or may not evaluate a teacher as open, attentive, confident, dominant, honest, likable, anxious, professional, supportive, or enthusiastic.



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verbal communication skills in the workplace videos



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