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Nonverbal Communication

Autor:   •  February 14, 2016  •  Essay  •  1,530 Words (7 Pages)  •  560 Views

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Nonverbal Communication

Sitting in a crowded place, such as a mall, airport or coffee shop while watching and observing people can be a very interesting way to pass time. Paying attention to all of the nonverbal communication that is happening around you can almost be overwhelming because there is so much more being said nonverbally than verbally. Nonverbal communication is defined as all human communication that goes above spoken or written words; it describes how actions and vocal tones create meaning to stand alone, confirm or contradict verbal messages (K. Verderber & R. Verderber, 2013).  Although it may be easy to observe the nonverbal messages and body language and assume we are interpreting them correctly, that may not always be the case.


We witness all types of nonverbal communication in our lives all the time, but until I sat down to consciously watch people and be aware of their nonverbal communication, I had no idea how much of it was going on around me. I chose to spend to spend one hour in the food court of a very popular mall in my area. I watched people from a distance so they did not know I was watching them and also took notes of the things I observed. I decided to take eight different scenarios and identify all the types of nonverbal communication happening in each scenario.

Toddler Temper Tantrum

Almost immediately upon sitting down, there was a young child a couple of tables over having what was clearly a temper tantrum. He was throwing himself on the ground and flailing his arms and legs around in an attempt to get his mother’s attention. I noticed that she was doing her best to ignore him, as she continued eating and avoided eye contact with him. Every few seconds, he would look up and when he realized she was not paying attention to him, he would let out a shrill scream. The nonverbal communication method this child was using was definitely intentional, as was the nonverbal communication the mother was using. Rather than telling him she was not going to give into his demands, she was sending the same message to him by avoiding eye contact and continuing on with what she was doing. Based on my reading of the study done by Grebelsky-Lichtman (2014), I have to wonder if the situation would have been any different had it been the father and daughter or mother and daughter. The study shows that mothers’ communication towards their sons is more ambiguous and mothers tend to give nonverbal messages that contradict their verbal messages.

Impatient Teenagers

There was a row in between tables where people were walking and I observed an elderly man in a wheelchair taking this same route. Because he was controlling his own chair, he was not going as quickly as the rest of those walking. Behind him, there were four teenage


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