Nonverbal communication is also referred to as body language, which involves nonverbal stimuli in a communication setup. It involves the use of body language, which includes facial languages, gaze, gestures, posture, and also the voice tone. In order to connect efficiently with others; we have to understand the use of nonverbal communication. This will help in expressing what we really mean and build a good communication relationship between the communicator and the person being communicated to. It will also help to navigate challenging communication situations in home and also in our working places.
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Outside my office, people naturally, freely, and unconsciously used the nonverbal language to air their true feelings and intents at any given time. The nonverbal language was mostly inclusive of glance, touch, eye contact, vocal nuance, gestures, proximity, dressing, facial expressions, posture, and word choice.
My experience was different from what would have been expected if the same survey was carried out a long time ago. In the past, a lot of emphases were put on dressing and personal attractiveness. Cultural standards conveyed by an individual’s mode of dressing instituted what people well-thought-out to be modesty. Unlike in the past, women did not seem to mind too much on how much the dress they wore covered most parts of the body. Instead, all they seemed to care was how stylish and fashionable their mode of dressing was. Men, on the other hand, appeared to be conserved in their mode of dressing. Many men who wore suits happened to be working on offices in white-collar jobs. This was in line with the kind of perception they had on the eyes of the general public.
Body posture gave a different message as compared to what it could mean traditionally. Bowing did not face any criticism; slouching was not considered to be a rude posture. However, addressing seniors with hands in the pocket was considered to be a sign of disrespect, just like it was the case in the past. Generally, there was a gender difference in the acceptable posture in both men and women.
Traditional gestures were still evident amongst men and women. Gestures generally varied depending on the individual’s culture. To some cultures, gestures were restrained while in others, they were animated. On interacting with some few individuals from both sides, individuals from the restrained culture felt that animated culture lacked manners, while their counterparts from the animated culture felt that the restrained culture lacked the interest of the emotional attachment.
However, there were some violations in the effective use of nonverbal communication. Some individuals avoided eye contact while putting across important explanations. This could be interpreted as a lack of attention and interest. Proper use of eye contact would have influenced persuasion or attitude change. This did not regulate interaction, communicate emotions, or define their status and power. Proper use of eye contacts would have created a central role in managing my impression and that of others towards them.
The act of touch was culturally determined. Each individual had a clear concept of where he or she should be touched. The basic message passed across by the act of touch was to offer control, either in protecting, in affection, to offer support or for disapproval. Handshakes were common, and it was not a big deal of shaking hands with strangers. Hugging and kissing were also common to those of the opposite gender, especially those in intimate relationships or those from close families.
Nonverbal communication is one of the major characteristics of passing message in any high perspective culture. It helps to regulate interactions, substituting verbal messages, and also to complement verbal messages. When wrongly used, nonverbal communication may cause contradiction. For instance, a wink may contradict an earlier stated positive message (Wood 2011).
Wood, J. T. (2011). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage/Wadsworth. ISBN: 9780495794165.