Chapter 4: Nonverbal Communication

4.6 Summary, Discussion, References


In this chapter, you have learned that we define nonverbal communication as any meaning shared through sounds, behaviors, and artifacts other than words. Some of the differences between verbal and nonverbal communication include the fact that verbal communication uses one channel while nonverbal communication occurs through multiple channels simultaneously. As a result, verbal communication is distinct while nonverbal communication is continuous. For the most part, nonverbal communication is enacted at an unconscious level while we are almost always conscious of our verbal communication. Finally, some nonverbal communication is considered universal and recognizable by people all over the world, while verbal communication is exclusive to particular languages.

There are many types of nonverbal communication including kinesics, haptics, appearance, objects, artifacts, proxemics, our environment, chronemics, paralanguage, and silence. These types of nonverbal communication help us share meanings in our interactions.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever communicated with someone outside of your culture? How was their nonverbal communication similar to your own, or different?
  2. Have you ever had your nonverbal cues misinterpreted? For example, someone thought you liked them because your proxemics suggested an intimate relationship. How did you correct the misinterpretation?
  3. What kind of nonverbal communication do you use every day? What does it accomplish for you?
  4. Which do you consider has greater weight when interpreting a message from someone else, verbal or nonverbal communication? Why?

Key Terms

  • chronemics
  • conscious
  • context
  • continuous
  • distinct
  • environment
  • haptics
  • kinesics
  • monochronic
  • nonverbal communication
  • paralanguage
  • personal appearance
  • polychronic
  • proxemics
  • silence
  • unconscious


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