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Nonverbal Communication. Carla Gillson , Central Lakes College Interpersonal Communication. [ * ]. [ ** ]. Introduction. NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION according to Adler is “messages expressed by other than linguistic means.” Verbal words are spoken words and expresses ideas.

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nonverbal communication

Carla Gillson, Central Lakes College

Interpersonal Communication


[ * ]

[ ** ]


according to Adler is “messages expressed by other than linguistic means.”

Verbal words are spoken words and expresses ideas.

Nonverbal conveys attitudes and emotions by tones in your voice, sighs, pauses, body language, gestures, touch, space facial expressions, etc.



physical appeal
Physical Appeal
  • On a 10 point scale with 1 being non-important and 10 being extremely important how important is body appearance to your own romantic interest in another person?
physical appeal1

Physical Appeal

Do the men and women you know conform to the stereotypes that say males are more concerned with the physical and females with personality?

why do we study nonverbal communication
Why do we study nonverbal communication?
  • Nonverbal messages communicate emotions
  • Nonverbal communication is strongly related to verbal communication
  • Nonverbal communication is relational.

[ ]

other aspects of nonverbal communication
Other aspects of nonverbal communication
  • Nonverbal cues are more believable
  • Nonverbal cues can be ambiguous
  • Nonverbal cues are continuous
  • Nonverbal cues are culture-bound
culture bound
  • The “OK” gesture made by joining the tips of thumb and forefinger to form a circle is a cheery affirmation to most Americans, but is has less positive meanings in other parts of the world.
  • In France and Belgium, it means “You’re worth zero.”
  • In Greece and Turkey it is a vulgar sexual invitation.
choose one
  • Patient S. T. – is grouchy, and something of a hypochondriac. He is scowly. He needs help walking, but can take care of himself once he reaches his destination. He sleeps-but not a lot.
  • Patient B.R. – is kind and appreciative. She cannot talk too much, but is otherwise communicative. She is friendly, fearless, and inquisitive. She looks good and is relatively self-sufficient. She asks about the nurse’s well being, and sleeps through the night.
  • Patient J.T. – is extremely self centered. He cries a lot, and cannot walk, cannot talk. He is incontinent and cannot feed himself. He is almost bald, wrinkly and cranky. He wakes up at all hours of the night.
are gender behaviors different in nonverbal communication

Make more eye contact

Are more vocally expressive

Interact at closer distances

Express more feelings via facial expressions

Gesture more


More Likely to lean forward in conversation

Require more personal space

Typically angle their bodies obliquely

Use more expansive gestures

R.Adler. Nonverbal Communication, Looking Out, Looking In (2006): 234

Are gender behaviors different in nonverbal communication?
nonverbal behavior has communicative value
Nonverbal behavior has communicative value

There are, of course, some messages which are transmitted entirely in a nonverbal manner through gestures and facial expressions. Pictures of Winston Churchill taken during World War 11 show him communicating encouragement to the people by raising two fingers in the familiar 'V for Victory' sign. What did it mean in the 60s?

principles of nonverbals you have heard it s not what she said but the way she said it
Principles of NonverbalsYou have heard “It ‘s not what she said, but the way she said it.”


  • laughing, crying, whispering, snoring, yelling, moaning, groaning, yawning, whining, sucking, sneezing, sighing, belches, hiccups
  • Remember that these characteristics are the vocal aspects of these actions, so imagine that these pictures are making noises.

[ ]

messages in the voice
Messages in the Voice:
  • Phrases have different messages depending on what parts we emphasize. For instance, take the sentence,

She's giving this money to me.

  • SHE is the one giving the money, nobody else.
  • She is GIVING, not lending.
  • MONEY is being exchanged, not anything else.
  • I am getting the money, nobody else.


where might this be used
Where might this be used?
  • By using silence at strategic times, you can sometimes get your decoder to reveal certain feelings and attitudes that may be hindering effective communication. It is important that we find out how we are doing in our effort to communicate; we do this through feedback. Silence can be an effective technique to encourage feedback.
body language kinesics
  • Have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation and realized that you were shifting your weight in the chair? Or running a finger around the inside of your collar? Or clearing your throat nervously? Nonverbal communication frequently reveals the emotional side of our communications. What happens to you?
body language
  • Whether we are aware of it or not, each of us spends a lot of time decoding body language. We observe a wrinkled forehead, a raised eyebrow, a tug on the ear, fingers tapping on the table top, legs crossed and uncrossed, arms crossed over the chest. These movements should be considered in relation to the message itself; however, many times the nonverbal communications come through louder than the words that are actually being spoken.
eyes kinesics
EYES- Kinesics
  • Probably everyone has had some experience with eyes as nonverbal communicators. Most of us have been stared at and have wondered why. Was it curiosity or ill manners? But then there is the possibility the observer found us attractive and interesting and was issuing an invitation to get better acquainted. Most of us have decoded "eye language" even if we did not know about body language or nonverbal communication.
did you know

Researchers measured the amount of pupil dilation while showing men and women various types of pictures. The results were interesting: A person’s eyes grow larger in proportion to the degree of interest in an object. For example, men’s pupils grew about 18% larger when looking at pictures of a naked woman.

  • Women’s pupils grew 20% when looking at pictures of a naked man!!

Interestingly enough, the greatest increase in pupil size occurred when women looked at a picture of a mother and infant.

E.M.Hess and J.M.Polt, “Pupil Size as Related to Interest value of Visual Stimuli”Science 132

eye contact
  • How important is direct eye contact to our culture?
  • Can you think of cultures where it is not appropriate?
  • Fie, fie upon her! There’s language in her eyes, her cheek, her lips. Nay her foot speaks, her wanton spirits look out at every joint and motive in her body. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida
nonverbal physical space proxemics
Nonverbal – Physical Space (proxemics)

Intimate – no more than 18 inches apart

Personal – 18 inches to four feet (a personal conversation). The better you get to know someone the closer you will get to them

Social – 4 -12 feet (if we don’t know people very well)

Public – over 12 feet – to speak publicly – usually gesture more, speak louder

touch haptics
Touch - Haptics
  • The closer you stand to someone, the more likely you will touch.
clothing appearance
Clothing - Appearance
  • The bottom line is that we make assumptions about people based on what they wear.
she dresses in flags

comes on

like a mack truck

she paints

her eyelids green

and her mouth

is a loud speaker

rasping out


at cocktail parties

she is everywhere

like a sheep dog

working a flock

nipping at your sleeve

spilling your drink


wet sloppy kisses

but I

have received

secret messages

carefully written

from the shy

quiet woman

who hides

in this


gaudy castle

~Ric Masten