Only $35.99/year

Chapter 6 Nonverbal messages

Terms in this set (37)

Accent - Nonverbal communication is often used to accent or emphasize some part of the
verbal message. You might, for example, raise your voice to underscore a particular word
or phrase, bang your fist on the desk to stress your commitment, or look longingly into
someone's eyes when saying, "I love you."

Complement - Nonverbal communication may be used to complement, to add nuances of
meaning not communicated by your verbal message. Thus, you might smile when telling a
story (to suggest that you find it humorous) or frown and shake your head when recounting
someone's deceit (to suggest your disapproval).

Contradict - You may deliberately contradict your verbal messages with nonverbal movements;
for example, by crossing your fingers or winking to indicate that you're lying.

Control - Nonverbal movements may be used to control, or to indicate your desire to control,
the flow of verbal messages, as when you purse your lips, lean forward, or make hand
movements to indicate that you want to speak. You might also put up your hand or vocalize
your pauses ( for example, with "um") to indicate that you have not finished and aren't
ready to relinquish the floor to the next speaker.

Repeat - You can repeat or restate the verbal message nonverbally. You can, for example,
follow your verbal "Is that all right?" with raised eyebrows and a questioning look, or you
can motion with your head or hand to repeat your verbal "Let's go."

Substitute - You may also use nonverbal communication to substitute for verbal messages.
You can, for example, signal "OK" with a hand gesture. You can nod your head to indicate
yes or shake your head to indicate no.
To monitor feedback - For example, when you talk with
others, you look at them and try to understand their reactions to what you're saying. You try to read their feedback, and on this basis you adjust what you say. As you can imagine, successful readings of feedback will help considerably in your overall effectiveness.

To secure attention - When you speak with two or three
other people, you maintain eye contact to secure the attention and interest of your listeners. When someone
fails to pay you the attention you want, you probably increase your eye contact, hoping that this will increase

To regulate the conversation - Eye contact helps you regulate, manage, and control the conversation. With eye
movements you can inform the other person that she or he
should speak. A clear example of this occurs in the college
classroom, where the instructor asks a question and then
locks eyes with a student. This type of eye contact tells the
student to answer the question.

To signal the nature of the relationship - Eye communication also can serve as a "tie sign" or signal of the nature of the relationship between two people—for example, to indicate positive or negative regard. Depending on the culture, eye contact may communicate your romantic interest in another person, or eye avoidance may indicate respect. Some researchers note that eye contact serves to enable gay men and lesbians to signal their homosexuality and perhaps their interest in someone—an
ability referred to as "gaydar".

To signal status - Eye contact is often used to signal status and aggression. Among many younger people, prolonged eye contact from a stranger is taken to signify aggressiveness and frequently prompts physical violence—merely because one person looked perhaps a little longer than was considered normal in that specific culture.

To compensate for physical distance - Eye contact is often used to compensate for increased physical distance. By making eye contact you overcome psychologically the physical distance between yourself and another person. When you catch someone's eye at a party, for example, you become psychologically closer even though you may be separated by considerable physical distance.
Red: In China red signifies prosperity and rebirth and is used for festive and joyous occasions. In France and the United Kingdom, red indicates masculinity, in many African countries blasphemy or death, and in Japan anger and danger. Red ink, especially among Korean Buddhists, is used only to write a person's name at the time of death or on the anniversary of the person's death; this can create problems when American teachers use red ink to mark homework.

Green: In the United States green signifies capitalism, a signal to go ahead, and envy; in Ireland patriotism; among some Native Americans femininity; to the Egyptians fertility and strength; and to the Japanese youth and energy.

Black: In Thailand black signifies old age, in parts of Malaysia courage, and in much of Europe death.

White: In Thailand white signifies purity, in many Muslim and Hindu cultures purity and peace, and in Japan and other Asian countries death and mourning.

Blue: In Iran blue signifies something negative, in Ghana joy; for the Cherokee it signifies defeat, for the Egyptian virtue and truth, and for the Greek national pride.

Yellow: In China yellow signifies wealth and authority, in the United States caution and cowardice, in Egypt happiness and prosperity, and in many countries throughout the world femininity.

Purple: In Latin America purple signifies death, in Europe royalty, in Egypt virtue and faith, in Japan grace and nobility, in China barbarism, and in the United States nobility and bravery. And, of course, colors are often associated with gender, beginning with pink for baby girls and blue for baby boys. Even as adults, women are allowed great choice in clothing color. Men, on the other hand, have a more restricted palette from which to choose.