Nonverbal Communication





Nonverbal Communication

Question 1

Nonverbal communication is the use of gestures and visual cues to send information from one person to another. It can also be defined simply as communication among people without the use of sound. Communication behavior often used interchangeably with nonverbal communication can be defined as the use of gestures to show the inner emotions of a person. An example of nonverbal behavior is baring teeth when angry or wrinkling the nose because of a foul smell. On the other hand, an example of nonverbal communication is nodding one’s head in order to indicate agreement, or shaking the head to show disagreement. The main difference is that nonverbal behavior encompasses all elements of body language that can communicate a message among people. However, this can also tell a person’s personality.

Question 2

The difference between using time monochronically and polychronically is that monochrons do one thing at a time and do not allow disruptions. On the other hand, polychrons do not have a specific time for everything. Rather, any event can be engaged any time. While using time polychronically, one is not worried about the amount of time he or she has for a certain task. In addition, one allows for disruptions. For instance, one can answer a call during a meeting. Conversely, while using time monochronically, one cannot answer a phone call in a meeting or engage in events that were not planned to happen at a particular time.

I tend to use time monochronically on most occasions because it allows me to plan my duties efficiently. While studying, I prefer using time monochronically because it allows me to remain consistent. I think monochronic is better than polychromic utilization because a person can keep track of what they have done and what has not yet been done. This can allow better planning of time, which enables timely completion of various tasks, as opposed to polychromic time where tracking and completing one task is hard due to various issues such as disruptions.

Question 3

It is surprising how nonverbal communication and behavior varies across different cultures. One culture outside of United States that was quite surprising is the Asian culture. It was surprising that some of the gestures used in United States have a different meaning in this culture. For instance, while Americans use the index finger to point out directions, the Asian culture considers this offensive. Instead, they use the whole hand to point to some direction. In addition, while one may use a finger to gesture to another person to approach, in the Asian community this gesture is used on dogs. One rule that was similar to my culture is looking at a person in the eyes as they talk. It was a sign of attention and honesty.

When feeling depressed, it feels good when someone rubs your head. It is a gesture of consoling, affection, friendship and sympathizing with a person. This can be quite beneficial on children. In the Asian community, touching another person’s head is considered inappropriate. If I used such a gesture in the Asian culture, the person would not be my friend. Instead, they would feel offended. Using the usual gesture at home in this culture will be misinterpreted and this could have different reactions from home. For instance, when asking for direction, using my index finger to point at the map may appear offensive and many people in this culture may not assist me.

Question 4

Space has different meanings to people depending on their relationship. When I stood too close to a family member while talking, she reacted by asking whether I was okay. There were signs of confusion in her face. Increasing some distance every time an acquaintance drew closer made them look curious. Some asked what was wrong. Drawing further from a person, I am close to indicated that something was wrong.

These reactions revealed that the norms of proximity are a particularly crucial part of communication. In addition, the relationship between two people determines proximity during communication. For instance, drawing too close to a person I was not particularly familiar to elicited mixed reactions while some looked at me in a confused look. It is clear that communication has many faces and that distance or proximity between two people has an effect on how people interpret the message. It can be considered a part of nonverbal behavior because it may not indicate communication, but it elicits different reactions from the recipient.

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