Nonverbal Methods of Interpersonal Communication example

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Nonverbal Methods of Interpersonal Communication


The following essay provides analyses of nonverbal means of interpersonal communication, specifically kinesics (and its subcategories oculesics, chronemics, haptics) and paralanguage, to reveal their effect on the interaction’s success. The influence of gender, social and cultural factors on the nonverbal behavior is demonstrated with the help of different examples of international origin.

Nonverbal Methods of Interpersonal Communication

Nonverbal communication is a term referring to numerous wordless methods of message exchange, including body language, kinesics, paralanguage, proxemics, etc. The nonverbal language is an integral part of every conversation and usually so habitual, that people do not notice it, thus the most significant feature of nonverbal behaviour is that it is nearly subconscious and uncontrollable. Almost every social situation dictates corresponding rules of nonverbal behaviour, one pattern of gesticulation or mimics may be inappropriate or completely adequate depending on the circumstance. The codes of nonverbal communication appear and evolve under the influence of community standards and almost entirely depend on the communicator’s personality, thus rooted in gender identity as much as in other sociocultural factors.

The Role of Nonverbal Means in Human Communication

The nonverbal communication is the major source of data exchange between communicators and it conveys approximately 66% of all meanings in human interaction (Burgoon, Guerrero, Floyd, 2016). It is a very complicated and multilayered concept that requires investigation of numerous related matters such as timing, awareness, degree of control and personal perceptivity. People tend to rely on the nonverbal signals more than on the verbal ones (Burgoon, Guerrero, Floyd, 2016) even though they often contradict each other. Only after a special prolonged training a person can control his nonverbal behaviour and adjust it to specific purposes (Knapp, Hall, Horgan, 2013), usually the body reveals the mood and intentions of the speaker even against his will. The cultural, social, age and gender differences influence the body language greatly and may be misunderstood in case of disparity, because the overall significance of the nonverbal codes exists only if there is someone to decode them and receive the message. All nonverbal messages can be divided into intentional and unintentional, the later more inclined to ambiguity and misinterpretation, for example even such a common nonverbal sign as a smile may denote completely different emotions in different cultures. In the West a smile generally means joy or benevolence, while for Asian cultures it may be socially dictated even if the smiling person in fact is sad or angry. The sociocultural essence of the nonverbal communication is demonstrated by the difference of perception between adults and children, who usually fail to correctly interpret a contradictory message (Knapp, Hall, Horgan, 2013). The scientists state that people learn nonverbal skills through every-day life and unconscious imitation of others (Knapp, Hall, Horgan, 2013), the process starts in infancy and continues for the whole life, adjusting to the changes of social environment. The following passages will analyse some widespread nonverbal methods of communication and their effect on …

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