Friday, March 7, 2014

Nonverbal Friday

In interpersonal communication class this week (and next week) the topic is nonverbal communication. That's everything from proxemics (how close or far you stand when communicating), kinesics (body position and motion, and touch), space (how you arrange your office or house to communicate who you are), paralingual attributes (tone, pitch and volume of voice), physiological responses (gestures, posture, facial eye contact and movement), appearance (what you wear), and to a lesser degree chrometics (what how you use time says about what you think), and so much more.

Nonverbal communication, the sending and receiving of communication through "wordless cues" - the stuff that tells the story you won't tell. It's actually a fascinating branch of communication study. According to some studies 65-93% of communication is nonverbal (1).

Nonverbal communication is something we sometimes struggle with on a personal level. James had often remarked early in the relationship that sometimes our face and tone did not math the words coming out of our mouth. While we are really good at reading nonverbal communication (sometimes scary good), it could probably be said that we're not good at controlling it. (A Face Full Of Emotion: A Journal Entry Nonverbal communication can reveal how you are feeling, even if it's not intentional.

We depend too much on it perhaps, as it's easier to covey a message using aspects of nonverbal communication than it is saying outright what it is on our mind. So, in public, instead of saying "Move out of my way bitch", everything that needs to be said we can do using our eyes, mouth and posture alone...sometimes unintentionally.

But nonverbal communication can also reveal lies you're telling, and maybe that's why we're not comfortable with lying, because our entire body demands honesty. This body will tell you the truth, and we know it will, so why bother lying. If that makes any sense. 

In any case, there were two videos in class today to illustrate and to facilitate the "book learning"...and it seemed they would be worth sharing. They come from TED Talks, which is an amazing series of professional lectures from all over the United States. If you're not familiar with TED Talks go ahead and Google them...they have a great website full of videos, there are loads, in all sorts of topics - they are generally short, informative/educational and interesting.

Here are the two from today. Initially the first video just really reminded us why we hate/dislike (most) people, and why communicating with people is terrifying (you can't trust people!). But then we remembered how fascinating communication is, and that's why it's our major.

So, enjoy...


(1) Burgoon, J.K. (1994). Nonverbal Signals. In M.L. Knapp & G.R. Miller (eds), Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. (p. 235). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 

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