Non-Verbal Behaviors and Communications

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 8
Words: 1944
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: Bachelor

Introduction

Non-verbal behaviors or communication usually refers to a process of sending or receiving information which is in the form of wordless messages (Poyatos, p. 2).

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In non-verbal behaviors and communication, language is usually accompanied by other means such as gestures, touch, body language or even expressions on the face of the communicating parties. To some extent non-verbal communication may be in the form of the clothes we wear, our hairstyles as well as info graphics. Sometimes even the language may carry with itself some form of non-verbal communication (Poyatos, p. 10).

This is mainly in the form of the voice tone, expressed emotions and even the style employed in delivering the words. The non-verbal behavior in the language is referred to as paralanguage. Non-verbal behaviors in communication may also be expressed in written texts based on the nature of handwriting or the typing style, the way the words are arrangement in a sentence. Scholars have however failed to conduct vigorous studies on the various types of non-verbal behaviors in communication and have restricted themselves on the face to face form of communication (Hartley, p. 6).

Various verbal behaviors are employed to pass a message to and from the parties involved in the communication process. In this paper I will look at some of the non-verbal behaviors used to communicate a selected range of feelings.

Insecurity

To start with, I want to give an experience of a certain woman, who was probably in her mid thirties. She had gone for a massage only to develop the feeling that she smelled bad. She could no relief herself during the whole massage session. She wished the session could end as soon as possible. A few days later, she called the therapist to apologize for her body odour, because she had not taken a shower. To her surprise, the therapist informed her that actually he was the one who had not taken a shower, and he also felt that he smelt bad. He did the massaging in a hurry so as he can go and take a shower. In this experience, both the customer and the therapist had feelings of insecurity. The client felt she is giving the therapist a hard time, while the therapist felt he is losing a potential regular customer (Hartley, p. 60).

Both of them tried as much as possible to force the therapy to an end. The client actually went ahead to tell the therapist that he was okay, and she felt better. This however was aimed at encouraging the therapist to end the massage.

In most cases, paralanguage is mainly used to demonstrate feelings of insecurity. The amount of time one takes to respond to question or to provide information may show how secure the person feels he or she is. For example, a mother who wants to go shopping, but want to leave her child alone in the house, may spend half an hour trying to get a response which is too obvious in front the child. The child will be unwilling to give responses in an attempt to show the mother that he or she does not want to be left alone in the house.

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Silence may also be a means of showing insecurity. Imagine a person out at night, in a place where seems to be no one around. In such a case, one may be force to remain silent and try as much as possible to avoid any movement that will produce any amount of noise. Depending on the level of insecurity that one feels, the voice tone as well as talking style will be highly influenced. People may be forced to whisper to one another instead of talking loudly.

In some cases a person who feels insecure may not be able to pronounce words as they are supposed to. Stammering and lack of words to use may be a common experience when one is in a state of insecurity.

Restlessness in a conversation may also show some level of feelings of insecurity. Take for example a person who has been threatened by unknown persons, may be through the phone or e-mail. If such a person is to explain his or her experiences, most likely he or she will be restless in trying to explain the happening. Such a person may not feel secure even when recording statements with the police. He or she will still be restless.

Determination

A wide range of non verbal behaviors may be expressed to show the level of determination that person possesses. One of these behaviors is silence. Silence may be employed by a person to affirm that he or she is determined. Silence however is mainly used when the determination that one possess is being questioned and especially when there is an argument on the same (Hartley, p. 22)

In this case, the person may as well decide to keep quite ad not to respond to any other question or comment. The message being sent in such a case is “just wait and I will prove you wrong”. To some extent this may work very well to show that one is truly determined.

Paralanguage especially change of voice tone may also be used to show determination. A person may decide to change his voice tone and even the talking style just to prove to the other parties that he or she is determined to achieve. Loud voice is in most cases used to show that a person is determined to achieve a certain task that other are in doubt of.

Paranoid

A person suffering from paranoiac disorders develops feeling that other are being unfair to him/ her, they hate him or her or they are hostile to him or her (Hartley, p. 45).

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Such a person may demonstrate behaviors that clearly show that they are paranoid. Being in total disagreement with others is probably the most common behavior that a paranoid may demonstrate. This may be in form of shaking the head sideways in while trying to isolate him or herself from the others. Such a person may often look depressed and always preferring to be alone.

Hostility when in contact with other may as well reveal levels of paranoiac disorder. For example, if you try to get hold of his or her arms, he or she is likely to shake them off and may change the voice tone and learn away. Sometimes the person may not even talk but behaves in away as if to attack anyone who bothers him. For example carrying a weapon may mean that the person is ready to attack anyone who bothers him. Jokes and comments to them may always provoke them into action even though the jokes were normal. The person will always avoid social interactions with any person.

Unsure of what she wants

A person who does not exactly know what she wants is always capable of mankind vital decisions. Such a person may exhibit a number of behaviors. For example, nodding to show agreement with each possible solution provided. Since she is not sure of what she want, such a person may be in a position where she feels every solution or offer that is presented to her is applicable to her state. She will therefore tend to nod in agreement with multiple offers or solutions provided.

Other behaviors may be throwing of hands out or shrugging the shoulders. These behaviors shows the person does not know anything, and this can imply that he or she is not aware of what she wants.

If a person smiles while nodding sideways slowly, then this may also mean that he or she is not aware of what she wants. This kind behavior may mean that the person is in an indifference position, therefore implying that she is not sure of what she wants.

Stressing out

In this case the person is likely to sit down, facing down with both hands supporting the head or with one hand supporting the head on the cheek. This is a sign of being depressed and being in a state of being stressed out. The person may also lie in bed, facing down and tightly holding on the beddings. In this kind of behavior, the person may be trying to figure out solutions for the problems she is facing.

Judgmental

When the person is judgmental, the most common behavior expressed is nodding sideways in disagreement, and not paying attention. Facial expressions may be putting a smile on the face. This kind of a smile is meant to show the other that he or she is actually the one who is wrong. If the person tries to pat or to interrupt another person who may be is trying to put something across, by use of hand may also show a level of prejudice. In this kind of behavior she intends to actually give the explanation because she feels the other person is wrong.

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Dramatic

A person who is dramatic will express behaviors such, been cheeky and mischievous. Funny or awkward facial expressions as well as standing or sitting styles, may make a person be termed as dramatic. Dramatic person may also possess some sense of humor in their wording and word arrangement s in verbal communication

Uptight

A person who is uptight is one who is always in a tense state. These persons will in most cases display nervousness, anger or irritability. They are usually unable to express themselves. In this case the person is likely to use gestures to communicate their feelings and in sometimes try to use the hands to make across points which are easy to make.

Confident

People who are confident usually have an assurance from doubt. They tend to belief in themselves and in their abilities. The most common behaviors are a relaxed standing or sitting posture such as standing with legs apart and wearing a smile on the face. Positive facial expressions also help communicate the confidence in a person.

Self-conscious

When a person is self-conscious is one who has a high sense of self-awareness. Paralanguage is the most behavior that is used to express this. Voice tone and speaking with a sense of surety and authority helps communicate self-consciousness.

Activity 1: Portrait of myself

A photo with high school colleagues

We took this photo while still in high school. In this photo, everybody had his own unique posture, either standing or seated. This photo reminds me of the old school days and how fun it was. It also helps others to understand me better as a person who likes fun and socializing.

Sports posters

There are also sports posters in the room. These posters bear photos of great sportsmen and women and also great sporting clubs in world of football and basketball. The posters reminds of the many times I have attended the games when the players and or the clubs are involved. It communicates a lot about me as sports fan.

A guitar

Hanging on one of the walls of the room, the guitar means a lot to me. Looking at it I see my companion when lonely. The guitar also conveys a message to the many visitors who visits the room. On the guitar is a picture of a popular soft music musician. The guitar tells my visitors of a soft music lover who lives in the house. The guitar also tells them I am guitarist.

Wild animal carvings

This reminds me of the visit I had made to a popular game reserve in Africa. The carving portrays the African elephant with its young ones. This picture also helps others to understand me as a person who loves wild animals and also one who likes travelling.

Works Cited

  1. Hartley, Peter. Interpersonal communication. New York: Routledge. 1999. Print
  2. Poyatos, Fernado. Non-verbal communication across disciplines: culture, sensory interaction, speech, conversation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Print