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Nonverbal communication skills

Nonverbal communication includes all unwritten and unspoken messages: eye contact, facial expression, body movements, space, time and appearance. Understanding messages often involves more than merely listening to spoken words. These silent signals have a strong effect on receivers, but understanding them is not simple.

Words seldom tell the whole story. The eyes face, and body can convey a world of meaning without a single syllable being spoken. The eyes have been called ‘the windows of the soul’. Most of us cannot look another person straight in the eyes and lie. In American culture we tend to believe people who look directly at us.

The expression on a person’s face can be almost as revealing of emotion as the eyes. A person’s posture can convey anything from high status and self-confidence to shyness and submissiveness. leaning toward a speaker suggests attraction and interest, pulling away or shrinking back denotes fear, distrust, anxiety, or disgust.

In addition to nonverbal messages transmitted by our body, three external elements convey information in the communication process: time, space, and distance. How we structure and use time tells observers about our personality. How we order the space around us tells something about ourselves and our objectives. The more formal the arrangement, the more formal and closed the communication. And each of us has certain areas that we feel are our own territory. We all maintain zones of privacy in which we feel comfortable.


Four space zones for social interaction

Zone Distance Users
Intimate 0 -1.5 feet Reserved for members of the family and other loved ones.
Personal 1.5 – 4 feet For talking with friends privately. The other limit enables you to keep someone at arm’s length.
Social 4 – 12 feet For acquaintances, fellow workers, and strangers. Close enough for eye contact yet far enough for comfort.
Public 12 feet and over For use in the classroom and for speeches before groups. Nonverbal cues become important as aid to communication.

How appearance sends silent messages.

The physical appearance of a business document, as well as the personal appearance of an individual, transmits immediate and important nonverbal messages.

The way a letter, memo, or report looks can have either a positive or negative effect on the receiver.

The way you look – your clothing, grooming, and posture - telegraph an instant nonverbal message about you. Based on what they see, viewers make quick judgments about your status, credibility, personality, and potential. As one human relation specialist observed, “If you don’t look and act the part, you will probably denied opportunities.”


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1267

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