NON- VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Vocal characterizers laughing, crying, sighing, yawning, clearing the throat,
groaning, yelling, whispering
intensity (loud/soft); pitch height (high/low).
sounds such a `uh-huh', `um', `uh'; silent pauses.
Proximity (Use of Space)
Proximity means nearness, in terms of physical space. How people use their personal space and
that of others communicates a message. This response to spatial relationships in formal, informal
and intimate setting indicates how that person perceives and feels in that space.
People also use their height and weight to convey a message. If you tower over other people in a
way that intrudes on their personal space you may cause their discomfort and withdrawal.
Personal space varies according to:
Research has shown that Australians speaking to acquaintances or work colleagues leave about an
arm's length of space between themselves and the other person. People speaking to friends and
family leave about half an arm or an elbow's length between themselves and others. People in
intimate relationships allow direct and close contact when speaking to each other. The use of space
reflects the way people feel about others.
Artifacts are objects used to convey nonverbal messages about self-concept, image, mood, feeling
or style. For example, perfume, clothes, lipstick, glasses and hairpieces project the style or mood of
the wearer. Many artifacts are common to the group but we also use artifacts, particularly clothing,
as an individual form of communication.
Appearance and cloth are important and highly visible parts of nonverbal communication. Consider
the different between the clothes you wear to the beach and the clothes you wear to a job interview.
The choice of clothes reflects your mood and your attitude to the occasion. Other people note and
place their own interpretation on your dress.
Even if you decide you will not bother about personal appearance or clothes, others will read this
message as part of your nonverbal communication.
The environment can influence the outcome of communication. For this reason, organization gives
careful consideration to office space, factory layout, the sales area and conference venues. The
environment should put people at ease and match their expectations; an unsuitable environment
can produce `noise' that causes communication barriers and interferes with the communication
Certain instincts, such as desire for privacy, familiarity and security, need to be satisfied. Careful
design of the workplace can meet these needs and in so doing improve communication,
productivity and morale. Natural and artificial light, colour, temperature, tables, chairs, desks,
lounges, plants, sound, artwork, magazines, and floor and wall coverings all have an impact on
people's perception of an organization.
In the workplace, attention to punctuality or a disregard for it can make a strong nonverbal impact.
A disregard for punctuality may, like a sloppy appearance, merely reflect a casual attitude. However,
a deliberate decision to keep a contact waiting may be a way to communicate a negative message.
While punctuality is a matter of courtesy, attitudes towards its important vary between cultures. To
be kept waiting for a business appointment on a tropical island will not have the same significance
as a delay in some European counties where punctuality is highly regard.
The above discussion of the seven aspects of nonverbal communication provides a theoretical
analysis. However, to consider each aspect in isolation is artificial. In practice, what is sent as a total
message is a cluster of nonverbal cues in association with the spoken words
Your Response to Behaviour
Use of Space
Your Response to an Organization
Organization I Like
Organization I dislike
Use of space
Inclusions and fittings
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