Communication and Non-Verbal Speech

Communication and Non-Verbal Speech

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Illustrators are behaviors that accompany speech and are directly related to it. They are used for emphasis or to clarify or illustrate an idea through the use of body movements. Try to describe, in words alone, a spiral staircase. It's hard, isn't it? It is much easier to use illustrators, gesture with your body and hands, to help your verbal communication.
Affect Displays
Affects displays are the elements of nonverbal communication to which we probably respond most directly and consciously. If you have ever smiled warmly at an attractive member of the opposite sex and received a warm smile in return, you didn't need very much verbal communication to realize that there was a mutuality of feeling between you. We can display affect bodily or facially. The droop of the head and shoulders, for example can express sadness, weariness, or depression, while shoulders up with head and chin held high can express strong positive feelings of self-confidence. Facial expressions may indicate a wide variety of feelings, ranging from depression and anger on one hand, to joy, delight, and exaltation on the other.
During any conversation, be it dialogue between two close friends or a conversation among several people at a party, signals are passed from one person to another or to the group as a whole. We call these signals, or cues, regulators. These signals regulate, or control, the back-and -forth flow of the conversation, governing its rate and duration. You give someone permission to speak, encouragement to continue, or a message to stop talking through some nonverbal behavior such as making or avoiding eye contact or head-nodding or head-shaking.
An adaptor is a nonverbal behavior we use to manifest some of our unconscious needs of drive. Some of these behaviors, such as scratching our heads, rubbing our noses, covering our mouths, or chewing our glasses are ways of handling anxiety, hostility, or other negative feelings. Most people are not aware of displaying adaptors. Look around your classroom before the next quiz or before a class presentation is to be made. What kind of adaptive behaviors do you see? Probably a lot of foot-tapping, playing with pencils, hand rubbing, and so on.
In addition to looking at the type of behavior displayed, we can examine the body part we used for communication, and what we mean to "say". For example, facial expressions may indicate a wide variety of feelings, ranging from depression and anger, on one hand, you such emotions as joy, delight, and exaltation on the other.

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Specific organs of the face may also play a part in transmitting messages.
The eyes play a very important role in communication. The length of time that you hold eye contact with another person is generally an indication of the degree and quality of your relationship with that person. Your eye contact with a total stranger or a casual acquaintance is likely to be considerably shorter than eye contact with one of your close friends, or close family members. If you are angry with someone fairly close to you, you are likely to make your eye contact with the person either very short or much longer than usual. When you're forced into uncomfortably close quarters with someone you don't know intimately, you'll usually compensate by avoiding eye contact. Recall the behavior of people on crowded elevators. Where do they look? Usually at the numbers that indicate the floors. What about on crowded buses or trains? There, people generally look up at the advertising signs or down at their feet.
The eyes may play a role in discouraging relationships. When you avoid eye contact with an acquaintance or friend, you may be saying, "I don't wish to recognize you now or spend time with you." Literature is full of expressions that relate to the wide variety of meanings a person can express in a glance. As Ben Jonson said, "Drink to me only with thine eyes,/And I will pledge with mine."
Eye pupil size expresses another aspect of meaning. When you look at something you find pleasant, your eye pupils tend to enlarge. When you look at something you find unpleasant, your pupils contract. You don't consciously control the size of your pupils, though, and your response to the eye pupil size of others is also largely unconscious. Many experiments have shown that people generally prefer to relate to, be friends with, and work with, people with large eye pupils.
Arms and Legs
The arms and legs also play an important part in conveying either specific meaning or some indication of the communicator's feelings and attitudes. On one occasion, one of the authors was participating in a group interview of a candidate for a position as counselor. The candidate was very opinionated and outspoken as to her views on a number of subjects and gradually antagonized several of the interviewers, especially the author. After he address a couple a questions toward the candidate and received what, to him, were highly unsatisfactory answers, the author's attention was embarrassing called to his posture by one of the other interviewers. To his surprise and consternation, he found himself learning way back in his chair, with his arms and legs tightly crossed. Any one of these behaviors would have indicated the interviewer's negative attitude toward the candidate. Together, all of them meant "You don't stand a ghost of a chance with me." The candidate very shortly took the hint, and left. ( P.S.: She didn't get the job.)
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