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Non-verbal communication


Lecture 4 Non-verbal communication-Space, body language, time, touch, voice 1. Space Personal space What is personal ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Non-verbal communication

Lecture 4
  • Non-verbal communication
  • -Space, body language, time, touch, voice

1. Space

Personal space
What is personal space?
  • Personal space is the region surrounding each
    person, or that area which a person considers
    their domain or territory.

What is personal space?
  • Often if entered by another being without this
    being desired, it makes them feel uncomfortable.

Personal space
The average personal distance varies from culture
to culture.
  • Generally speaking, people
  • from cold areas need larger
  • personal space than those
  • from warm areas.
  • E.g. Indian

Personal space
Personal space
  • Those who live in a densely populated environment
    tend to have smaller personal space requirements.

Personal space
  • Personal space can also be heavily affected by a
    person's position in society, with the more
    affluent a person being the larger personal space
    he demands.
  • It is variable and difficult to measure
  • (for an average westerner)
  • 24.5 inches (60 centimeters) on either side,
  • 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) in front and
  • 15.75 inches (40 centimeters) behind

Personal space--exceptions
  • People usually make exceptions to modify their
    space requirements, when they see an immediate
    need or reason to temporarily allow a change in
    their usual personal space needs.
  • Often a person's comfort zone is different
    depending upon where they are and who they are
    with. In certain circumstances people can accept
    having their personal space violated.

Personal space--exceptions
  • In romantic relationships, the lack of personal
    space is usually expected as well as desired.

Personal space--exceptions
  • Similarly family members often welcome hugs and
    affection in exchange for their personal space.

These close and personal situations are often
built on high levels of trust.
Personal space--exceptions
  • Crowded events such as concerts, fairs, sports
    arenas, buses and elevators, normally dont leave
    room for ample personal space.

(No Transcript)
Zones of Personal Space
  • In 1966 Anthropologist Edward Hall identified
    four different zones of personal space Americans
    like to keep around them.

Personal space in the US
  • Intimate distance
  • extends roughly 18 inches (45.7 cm) from the
    individual and is reserved for family, pets and
    very close friends.

  • Personal distance
  • extends 18 inches to 4 feet (.457 - 1.5 m) is
    reserved for friends and acquaintances.

  • Social distance
  • extends from about 4 to 12 feet (1.2 - 3.7
    meters) and is used for formal, business and
    other impersonal interactions such as meeting a

  • Public Space
  • extends more than 12 feet (3.7 m) and is not
    guarded. Secret Service agents will commonly
    attempt to ensure 12 feet (3.7 m) of open space
    around dignitaries and high ranking officials.

2. Body Language
  • Body language is an important part of nonverbal
    communication and it is connected with culture.
    In order to make successful exchange in
    intercultural communication, we should know the
    body language from different cultures.

  • 1) Body movements also known as body language or
  • Including gestures, head movements, facial
    expressions, eye behaviors, etc.
  • Ekman and Friesen
  • five categories of kinesic behaviors emblems,
    illustrators, affect displays, regulators,

  • Emblems ?????
  • OK, Victory
  • Illustrators ?????
  • used with verbal messages, to indicate accuracy
    and help explain, eg. Calling for a taxi
  • Affect displays ???????
  • facial and body movements
  • many are universally recognized, such as
    happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise,
    disgust, contempt, interest
  • Unconscious and unintentional, eg. Startled look
    of surprise, a blush of embarrassment
  • Conscious and intentional, purposeful smile and
    look at another person to convey warmth and

  • Regulators ?????
  • sequencing in conversation, used by speakers to
    indicate whether others should take a turn and by
    listeners to indicate whether they wish to speak
    or would prefer to continue listening
  • High-context cultures eyes (p.204-205)
  • Adaptors ?????
  • personal body movements that occur as a reaction
    to an individuals physical or psychological
  • Self-adaptors, alter-directed adaptors,
  • Eg. Scratching an itch, fidgeting (unrest),
    tapping a pencil, smoothing ones hair
  • Often performed unconsciously

  • Eye language
  • Postures
  • Touch
  • Facial expressions

Eye language
  • As saying goes The eyes are the window of the
    soul. we can read ones mind through his/her
    eyes. Eye language can express complicated
    feelings and it is an important way to judge the
    intimacy of communicators.

  • If two Chinese are in conversation, they will
    look at each other warmly. Because they think
    eyes are the key of their existence. But in
    American eyes, they think this behavior is
    unsuitable or a homosexual behavior.

  • The educated Englishmen believe direct eye
    contact with our communicators is gentlemanly.
    But Swedish use eye language more often than

  • And the French especially like to look
    attentively at the other communicators with
    admiration. Japanese often look at the other
    communicators neck when they are in
    conversation. They believe eye contact is

  • Posture is a matter of how people sit, walk,
    stand and move.

  • According to Chinese tradition, people who are
    sitting have right to take charge of others
    Monarch sits and officer stands father sits and
    son stands leader sits and employee stands and
    so on. So the younger give the old a seat to show

  • But in America and Britain, people who are in
    charge of others have tendency to stand. They
    will make use of the height of space to indicate
    the high status.

  • Touch refers to the way people exchange
    information by touching ones body. The most
    common touch behavior is hands shaking and hugs.

  • In China, people greet with each other with head
    nodding, smile, hand shaking and so on. Even
    good friends just hold hands for a short time or
    hammer softly on the other friends shoulder.

  • In English speaking countries, people used to hug
    or kiss each other in public between males and
    females, which is unacceptable and only exists
    between lovers and couples in private in China.

  • In America, common friends and acquaintances will
    avoid body touch. Even in the elevator, body
    touch is not allowed. Touching the other people
    slightly or unconsciously, people will say
    Sorry, Very Sorry, Excuse me in a hurry to
    express apology.

Facial expressions
  • We constantly read facial expressions to
    understand what others are feeling. The face
    provides vital clues to our own feelings and
    those of the people around us.

  • In many cultures, smiles are signs of happiness
    or friendliness, like America and China.
  • When we have guests at home, we will smile to
    show welcome. But American Indians will cry to
    express welcome. Smiles will not only represent
    happiness and friendliness but also indicate
    apology and understanding.

  • The study of body language makes us understand
    others very well and behave in proper ways. Only
    when we make a clear understanding on body
    language, can we use body language of English
    speaking countries to make an efficient
    communication and avoid misunderstanding.

3. Time
  • Chronemics is the study of the use of time in
    nonverbal communication. The way we perceive
    time, structure our time and react to time is a
    powerful communication tool, and helps set the
    stage for communication.

Time systems
  • Technical time systems
  • Formal time systems
  • Informal time systems

Technical time systems
  • The precise, scientific measurements of time that
    are calculated in units
  • E.g. light year
  • atomic pulses

Formal time systems
  • Refer to the ways in which units of time are
    described and comprehended by the members of a
  • E.g. century, year, month, week, day, hour,
    minute, second, etc.
  • Phases of the moon, changing seasons, rising and
    falling of the tides, etc.

Formal time systems
  • Seven Characteristics
  • 1. ordering
  • 2. cyclicity
  • 3. valuation
  • 4. tangibility
  • 5. synthesisity
  • 6. duration
  • 7. depth

Seven Characteristics
  • Ordering
  • the sequences of events are invariable
  • Cyclicity
  • time is the circulation of time units
  • Valuation
  • time is precious and should be cherished
  • Tangibility
  • time is commodity can be gained, wasted,
    spent, lost, saved, and measured, etc.

  • Time is money.???????/?????
  • Time and tide wait for no man.??????
  • Lost time is never found again.????????
  • We have only a short life to live.?????
  • Life is but a span.????,?????
  • Strike while the iron is hot.?????
  • Never put off till tomorrow what you can do
  • The early birds catches the worm.?????
  • A stich in time saves nine.????,?????

Seven Characteristics
  • Synthesisity
  • time is accumulated the larger units of time
    are made up by smaller ones
  • Duration
  • Depth
  • the past is the foundation of the present

Informal time systems
  • Refer to the assumptions that cultures make about
    how time should be used or experienced
  • Monochronic-time or M-time
  • Polychronic-time or P-time

M-time system
  • People who have a monochronic concept of time
    regard it as a commodity time can be gained,
    lost, spent, wasted, or saved.
  • In this orientation, time is linear, with one
    event happening at a time.
  • In general, monochronic cultures value highly
    punctuality, completing tasks, and keeping to
  • E.g. North America and Northern Europe

P-time system
  • A polychronic orientation conceptualizes time as
    more holistic, perhaps more circular many events
    can happen at once.
  • Personal involvement is more important than
    schedules where the emphasis lies on personal
    relationships rather than keeping appointments on
  • E.g. Latin America and the Middle East

  • Many international business negotiations and
    technical assistance projects fail because of
    differences in time orientation.
  • International students and business personnel
    often complain that U.S. Americans do not care
    enough about relationships and about the
    personal aspects of living.

Plan in advance
  • To plan an activity in advance is a significant
    feature of modern social life.
  • Meetings, appointments, and social activities,

  • Begin at 7pm?arrive at 7pm (punctual?)
  • Formal activities
  • In Britain and north America on
    time/less than 5 minutes late
  • In Arabian countries 15 minutes late
    is normal and acceptable
  • Family dinners
  • In English speaking countries, 10
    minutes late is acceptable, but never arrive
    before the time
  • In China, we usually think that it is
    polite to arrive before the time.

Time Length of an activity
  • In Arabian countries and Latin American
    countries, the time length of social activities
    is longer than that in Britain and north American
  • Short inhospitable and unfriendly
  • In China, it is usually less than 3 hours.

4. Touch
Definition of touch
  • Touch, which is known as haptics
  • Most basic component of human communication.
  • One of the nonverbal communication.
  • it can create a more direct message than dozens
    of words
  • Touch communication occurs first in a human
    beings life in the mothers womb the child kicks

5 types / functions
  • Affect
  • Playfulness
  • Control
  • Ritualistic
  • Task-related
  • -by Stanley Jones and A. Elaine Yarbrouhgh.

  • 1.Affect
  • positive and negative feelings

  • Positive meaning of touch
  • -Connection to people
  • -Provide affirmation, reassurance and
  • - Decrease self-esteem
  • Warmth
  • Approval
  • Emotional support

  • Negative meaning of touch
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Punishment
  • Invasion of personal space and privacy
  • Subservient (??) relationship

  • Hugging
  • Stroking
  • Kissing
  • Slapping
  • Hitting
  • kicking

  • 2. Playfulness
  • These touches serve to lighten an interaction.
    These touches communicate a double message since
    they always involve a play signal, either verbal
    or nonverbal, which indicates the behavior is not
    to be taken seriously. affectionate
  • aggressive

  • Playful affection Serve to lighten interaction.
    The seriousness of the positive message is
    diminished by the play signal. These touches
    indicate teasing and are usually mutual.
  • Playful aggression Like playful affection these
    touches are used to serve to lighten interaction,
    however, the play signal indicates aggression.
    These touches are initiated, rather than mutual.

  • 3. Control
  • These touches serve to direct the behavior,
    attitude, or feeling state of the recipient. The
    key feature of these touches is that almost all
    of the touches are initiated by the person who
    attempts influence.
  • compliance, attention-getting, and announcing a

  • Compliance Attempts to direct behavior of
    another person, and often, by implication, to
    influence attitudes or feelings.
  • Attention-getting Serve to direct the touch
    recipients perceptual focus toward something.
  • Announcing a response Call attention to and
    emphasize a feeling state of initiator
    implicitly requests affect response from another.

  • 4. Ritualistic
  • These touches consist of greeting and
    departure touches. They serve no other function
    than to help make transitions in and out of
    focused interaction.

  • Greeting Serve as part of the act of
    acknowledging another at the opening of an
  • Departure Serve as a part of the act of closing
    an encounter

  • 5. Task-related
  • These touches are directly associated with the
    performance of a task.
  • this is usually related to a job or, maybe not
    necessarily even a work job, that where you earn
    your income, but any kind of jobs where touch is
  • i.e) a hair dresser, a massage person, nail
    person and so on

Culture and touch
  • 1. The amount of touching that occurs within a
    culture is largely based on the relative high
    context or low context of the culture.

  • High contact cultures
  • -Arab world, Middle East
  • - France, Southern Europe, Latin America
  • Moderate/Variable contact cultures
  • -Russia, East-Central Europe
  • -North America, Australia/ New Zealand
  • Low contact cultures
  • -Northern Europe, most of Asia

  • 2. Culture also differ in where people can be
  • 3. Cultures vary in their expectations about who
    touches whom.
  • 4. Cultures differ in the settings or occasions
    in which touch is acceptable.

Cultural differences in touch
  • Western Cultures
  • Handshake is common (even for strangers)
  • Hugs, kisses for those of opposite gender, family
    (usually) on an increasingly more intimate basis.
  • Some differences between African American Anglo

Cultural differences in touch
  • Islamic/Hindu cultures
  • Typically dont touch with left hand
  • Generally dont touch between genders with same
    sexes is appropriate
  • Common to see two men or two women holding hands

Cultural differences in touch
  • Many Asian cultures
  • Dont touch the head because it houses the soul.
    (Thailand and Malaysia.)

Cultural differences in touch
  • Latino, Middle-Eastern, Jewish cultures
  • Touch is okayemotion encouraged
  • Opposite-sex handshakes acceptable usually

Cultural differences in touch
  • English, German, Scandinavian, Chinese Japanese
  • Do not subscribe to overt displays of affection

And always remember
  • the more we know of other cultures, the greater
    the possibility is of a successful communication!

  • misunderstandings can be avoided if we are aware
    of and understand our cultural differences
  • non-verbal communication changes constantly