COMS201 Fall 2011

a UCalgaryBlogs.ca site

Lecture 2

Filed under: Uncategorized September 24, 2011 @ 15:54

What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

74 Comments »

  1. jenniferblezard:

    I think one of the most important types of non-verbal communication is body language. It can express so much.

    It’s important to take into consideration though that body language is not 100% and does leave room for misinterpretation.

    Sometimes our body signals will vary depending on background, ie cultural or social.

    I have had to clarify some of my own non-verbal communications. Apparently there are times that I can come across as “intense” or “dominant”. This is not always my intent and having to clarify this can be awkward.

    Inter cultural differences I have experienced with non-verbal communication usually pertains to personal space.

    I was in an office situation where my department was being outsourced to Bangalore India. The new staff were brought to Canada to be trained.

    I noticed right away that personal space was observed and treated very differently by my counter-parts from Bangalore. I had several conversations with my trainee, Shashi, about not standing so close in certain interactons in Canada.

    We talked and came to compromises about both of our views on personal space and how we were both most comfortable proceeding.

    Neither of us really went with one method or another, we simply agreed on what worked for out interactions.

  2. Devin Chollak:

    I have to say touch is the more important form of communication because it holds on of the strongest levels of meaning. Someone making physical contact is always more meaningful that eye contact.

    About a year ago I was at a cross walk during the noon hour and was about to cross the road when I saw a car speeding up and didn’t look like he was going to stop for the light. The girl beside me started to walk across because the light indicated to go, but I reached forward and grabbed her to pull her back. She was shocked and totally thought I was trying to grab her for another reason. Well, until the car flew past her missing her by a few feet. The look of horror on her face suddenly changed to thankfulness. I didn’t directly have to clarify why I grabbed her but she certainly understood after when she thanked me.

    The biggest difference I have noticed is eye contact when speaking to someone. I have a friend that typically doesn’t like to make eye contact when talking. It was strange at first, but over the semester I got used to it and it doesn’t feel weird anymore.

  3. jenniferblezard:

    http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/news/women-use-social-networking-sites-more-than-men-do-says-study-news-800737901

    This is an interesting blurb on women and men and the difference in their uses of social networking.

  4. Stephane Licina:

    Importance of social networking. (Keeping in touch, Job hunting, Emergency)….

    http://business.ezinemark.com/the-importance-of-social-networking-in-our-society-16c23800fdd.html

  5. rachelchoi:

    social networking technology

  6. meghanroskaft:

    http://www.calgary.ca/General/Pages/Social-Media.aspx

    The importance of social media being used by corporations demonstrated by the City of Calgary – so many avenues to explore what is going on in our city whether it be the news, bike paths, or parking.

  7. Caitlin Simpson:

    I think that silence is a really important part of non verbal communication, silence at the right or wrong moment can change things completely. Whether it be in relationships, or remaining silent instead of sticking up for someone.

    I always have to clarify. Sometimes my eyes will give away my thoughts before I speak them which is not always a good thing.

    I have noticed a lot of these. I was in a relationship with someone from Europe and most of our fights would end with “Well thats not how we think at home!”

    Also here is the social networking link that we were supposed to post on the blog. It’s interesting how now we are evolving to teach children about social networking as a means to get them to advance in society rather than be distracted.

    http://socialmediatoday.com/louisegriffiths/265941/importance-teaching-social-networking-schools

  8. kevinsmith:

    I’d say body language is definitely the most important. Like was said in class, even if someone says to you that they’re okay, you can tell if they really are or not by how they’re acting. It isn’t always accurate, and does require knowing the individual, but it is REALLY telling.

    I think there’s times where our non-verbal communication gets us in trouble because it says what we’re thinking. So of course there are times when you try to back pedal and explainn why you yawned or clearly weren’t paying attention. But usually, it’s pretty concrete evidence against you 😉

  9. Brooklyn:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

    I strongly believe all types of non-verbal communication are important. From day to day I use a significant amount of hand gestures as well as eye contact. The way a person moves their hands and eyes can tell you a lot about the message a person is meaning to portray. A great example is Charlie Chaplin videos. There are no words spoken throughout the videos, but people can decipher the story because of strong non-verbal communication.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

    I have definitely had to clarify my non-verbal communication in some instances. For example, when my alarm goes off and I do not get out of bed in the morning my mother will often try and wake me. When she speaks to me, I make a noise, often “ugh”. To me, this means “I am tired”. To her, this was received as, “go away”. Non-verbal communication can be misinterpreted just like any other form of communication.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

    My family experienced an inter-cultural difference in terms of non-verbal communication a couple years ago. We had an exchange student come and live with family friends of ours. When we went to their house for dinner, we brought the exchange student a gift. They were very thankful, but would not open the gift in front of us. They smiled, and put the gift in their room. I was very confused, but my parents confirmed that in their particular culture it was not common to open gifts in front of others. Very interesting non-verbal actions/practices.

  10. Brittney:

    I think one of the most important forms of non verbal communication is obviously body language because it operates on such a deep level most people don’t even realize what they’re doing, yet everyone subconciously recognizes and responds to it so naturally. Sometimes it can be misinterpreted, pulling a string off someone’s shirt (that you know) could be mistaken as a more intimate touch on the shoulder. I’ve experienced that before and it was awkward needless to say.

    One side of my family is Greek and in Greece showing your palm (like someone in North America would do as a greeting) is considered very rude, and it took my Grandfather a couple years to get over that, especially when he would go to Greece for a month or two and then come back home to the land of waving. Hilarious to watch, but you don’t want to be on the recieving end of one of those rampages.

  11. sarahscott:

    I thought todays class was very interesting.
    I think that non verbal communication speaks louder than words.

    Without anyone knowing it, it really expresses what you’re saying on a concious and subconcious level.

    Another way of communication is how we dress… in a way it expresses how we want to communicate to the world who we are.

  12. Brooklyn:

    Here is an interesting link about the positives and negatives of social networking.

    http://thesnapper.com/2011/09/22/the-great-debate-social-networking/

  13. orkansuleymanov:

    Time flies quickly, a few years ago people tend to communicate using wired gadgets such as telephones or ham radios. Today, the internet has reshaped our world beyond our imagination. People now uses desktop or laptop computers not just for work but also for entertainment and communication as well.

    Part of the ever growing popularity of the world wide web as a new means of communication is the advent of social networking sites. These are proprietary websites that can be used by common people to post personal profiles, pictures, videos, music and messages. Users of social networking sites can invite other “friends” to join their network to be able to view and share personal information on one another.

    There are several social networking sites today, among the popular ones are Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Most members of these sites are teenagers who just love the company of friends and other people. However, did you know how important social networking sites are?

    1. Keeping in touch

    By maintaining a profile on these sites, your loved ones, friends and distant relatives don’t have to call you everytime just to stay in touch with one another. One can take advantage of posting messages, images and personal videos of themselves for their loved ones to see over and over again. It’s cheap, fast and real time technology available to everyone.

    2. Job hunting

    Several companies in the US and Europe are taking advantage of social networking sites to get competent employees. On the other hand, job applicants take advantage of these sites to post their resume and credentials. It’s a great tool one can use in order to make a good impression to a company. If you’re applying for a computer related job, it would be great to maintain a personal profile.

    3. Emergency

    Have you heard of several thousands of individuals saved using social networking sites? Twitter has been a great tool for many to relay messages to thousands of concerned citizens in a snap in times of tragedy and natural calamities. People who seek fund raising and donation can use Facebook or MySpace sites to call unto generous individuals.

    Many people consider these sites as a work of the devil. It could be. However, one must realize that anything can become good or bad depending on the person’s intentions. Social networking sites has shaped our world whether we like it or not and it will become an indispensable tool if it’s used for good purposes.

    And a link, which explains something
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypzfpCMocss

  14. aland:

    Article on utilizing social networking to help people better network in business.

  15. kadiehummel:

    http://socialmediatoday.com/louisegriffiths/265941/importance-teaching-social-networking-schools

    This is an interesting article about whether proper social networking habits should be taught as a high school course. It’s interesting to see how social networking has such a high importance in today’s workplace/schooling. Should certain practices be addressed in a class (ex: security settings on facebook, pictures being posted for employers to see, etc.) As our world and society is constantly evolving and gearing towards being more technology-friendly, it is rare to find someone without a facebook page, or twitter. What steps need to be taken to maintain safety, appropriate behaviour for the work place, etc, if any?

  16. Jessica:

    The importance of social media, even in business:

    http://socialmediatoday.com/thepaulsutton/192114/just-how-important-social-media-business

  17. James McDonall:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?
    Facial and hand gestures are what we see first and remember most clearly when we are communicating with someone – especially if what we see contradicts what they say.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

    YES, YES, AND YES! Likely either because they weren’t paying attention, or because I was tired and didn’t “non-communicate” as well as I could have.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?
    As a long time insurance investigator I have had to take cultural matters into consideration many times to do my job. Things like taking shoes off in someone’s home, in not sitting unless asked, in requesting permission to take a photograph etc.

  18. aland:

    Sorry, reposting with link…
    Article on utilizing social networking to help people better network in business.

    http://www.quintcareers.com/making_social_networking_work.html

  19. James McDonall:

    Forgot the link!

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570826805000089

  20. Stephen Moore:

    I think the most important form of non-verbal communication, is through facial expressions, which can convey emotion, tone and much more.
    One flaw with digital communication is that statements are often made without consideration, and auto-correct distorts words occasionally.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jan/03/facebook-value-50bn-goldman-sachs-investment is an article that demonstrates the importance of facebook from a financial viewpoint.

  21. moirad:

    1. I believe that the most important form of nonverbal communication is body language. By reading and interpreting someone’s body language you can have some insight into what they are actually feeling/thinking. From something like a tell in a poker game, to a girl saying “no really, I’m fine” but displaying posture that reads differently it is easier to adapt and understand the point another is trying to communicate.
    2. I have had to clarify my nonverbal communication once or twice due to the “laugh snicker”, which is basically a nondescript sound that could be a laugh, but could also sound like I’m just snorting at a person. Embarassing, but I seem to do it a lot. Most of the time I am just laughing but don’t want to exert the full amount of energy required to actually laugh.
    3. I have had some troubles with intercultural nonverbal communication while in Mexico dealing with some local men. Their way of greeting was with kisses on the cheeks, and I was not used to someone I just met invading my personal space and I was taken aback the first couple of times it happened. After a bit though, I was able to get used to it and adjust to their cultural norms.

  22. Remi Watts:

    Non-verbal communication is, frankly, extremely interesting. I in particular am interested in communication’s relationship to time. The hallways, especially during this time of year, are full of students rushing to and fro, often as fast as walking can take them, and even on occasion running. What does this say about our values? About the culture of University? I personally often travel through the halls as consciously, slowly, and methodically as possible. Taking in the sights and sounds and movements of others. What does that say about my values? Does my conscious choice to reject certain norms make me a problem, or a good role-model? Non-verbal communication and time have an endless amount of interplays of which I hope to get the opportunity to explore further this term.

    Anyhow, in good form with the course requirements, here is my article post about the importance of social networking. Enjoy!

    http://www.pwc.com.au/private-clients/events/importance-of-social-media.htm

  23. Arkady Eidelberg:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/nealrodriguez/2011/08/10/ten-myths-about-social-networking-for-business/

    Ten myths about networking in business – the article has 10 tips of things to do or not to do, that are commonly thought as truths – but aren’t.

  24. Yidan Jiang:

    The differeces between China and Canada cultures are HUGE. When I first came to Canada, whereever I go to, people are always so nice and friendly, always have a big smile on their faces. When I walk pass by people, they always give me a friendly smile. However, I misunderstood the smiles, I considered the smiles as a way of showing interests and personal feelings to me. Especially in schools, when a cute male teacher smile to me, I thought he was into me or had crush on me. I would response with a face like I was assulted….. It was so embrassing………….Non-verbal communication is powerful, yet we need to understand them in a accurate way. Different cultures have different views on those non-spoken expressions.

  25. jefftees:

    Importance of Social Media – You Can’t Afford To Miss This
    Since our world is becomming closer with such things as economy and beliefs, social networking is an integral part of any business that plans to go, or already is global. I work for the YMCA and they have Twitter, Facebook and many other forms of social networking that provide their members with updates on pool closures and other activities that are comming up.

  26. christinadruce:

    I feel that body language is the most important form of nonverbal communication. Most people can control the sounds they make but very few have poker faces when faced with unexpected information or circumstances. I have spent many years trying to master my facial expressions, with sometimes limited success. So now when I am in a work-related situation where I know my face is going to giveaway my true thoughts/feeling I will often say something to the effect of “that’s fascinating, tell me more” to deflect back to the person who delivered the information.

    A huge component of my job over the last 10 years has been communication and I feel very confident and comfortable with my communication skills. Every once in awhile, though, when I am the listener rather than the vocal communicator, I do have to clarify myself because when I am listening intently I may look more stern than I intend (arms crossed, not smiling etc.) and if I don’t catch myself, I need to put the other person at ease.

    The intercultural differences that I have experienced where I was uncomfortable primarily involve the agressive bartering and selling of products. I get sucked into every story by every person and have difficulty firmly saying no to them. It drives my husband crazy. I don’t want to offend them based on my perception of what would be considered offensive. More and more I am coming to understand and be comfortable with those cultural differences when travelling and am able to take a firmer position.

    Below is an article on the importance of Social Networking for small businesses.
    http://www.smallbusinessbranding.com/2985/the-importance-of-social-networking-for-small-businesses/

  27. evangelosl:

    Being that I DJ for a living and ChaseR our professor is an avid music fan I found it appropriate to post this article on how music is critically evolving because of social media specifically twitter! Check it out!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/05/twitter-power-social-networking-music

  28. jefftees:

    jefftees:
    September 24th, 2011 @ 16:16
    Importance of Social Media – You Can’t Afford To Miss This
    Since our world is becomming closer with such things as economy and beliefs, social networking is an integral part of any business that plans to go, or already is global. I work for the YMCA and they have Twitter, Facebook and many other forms of social networking that provide their members with updates on pool closures and other activities that are comming up.
    Sorry, here is the Link:
    http://asktristramlodge.com/importance-social-media

  29. Kerry Volk:

    http://www.gaebler.com/Importance-of-Social-Networking.htm Build rapport, build customer base, build your professional career.

  30. joannelee:

    I think the most important non-verbal form of communication is eye contact and smiling. Even smiling at strangers can make their day and improve their mood. As human beings we are always looking to connect with others and feel accepted.

    I am always having to clarify my non-verbals to people that are around me. I always forget to watch my tone or my body language. Friends that know me don’t take offense but instead use my faux paux to make fun of me. However, I am like a bull in a china shop and am constantly apologizing to people or prefacing my remarks with, “I am not trying to sound rude…” or “I may sound aggressive or bitchy, but I’m really not trying to sound that way…” I am trying to get better and I do try to think how I am coming off before I speak. Or I apologize after I speak once I see someone’s reaction to what I have said.

    My relatives are from the Philippines and when they want to give you a kiss they do it differently. Instead of giving me a kiss on the lips or the cheek my grandma would come close to me, put her cheek next to mine and sniff. It used me weird me out, and make me think she’s checking my hygiene. Now I am used to the gesture as one that portrays love and affection according to her culture.

    Link to the importance of social networking in schools:

    http://www.kstatecollegian.com/edge/10-reasons-social-networking-benefits-students-1.2480338

  31. jenniferblezard:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jesse-eisenberg-and-aaron-sorkin-on-mark-zuckerberg-misfits-and-the-social-network-20101015

    This is a lengthy piece, but it does address some of the impact of social networking on face-to-face interaction and how it contributes to enabling “misfits” to have a “more democratic and regulated” forum for socializing.

  32. jingjingyang:

    about the importance of social networking,a article talk about obama understood the importance of social networking http://www.realestatemarketingblog.org/obama-understood-the-importance-of-social-networking/

  33. aland:

    I feel facial expressions are the most important and perhaps most misread form of non-verbal communication.

    Often I find people misinterpret my facial expressions. For example, when I am deep in thought I tend to have a very furrowed serious look that people often misconstrue as anger, distain or disapproval. In actuality, I am simply processing a comment and attempting to develop a constructive response.

    Personally, I have found the major difference in non-verbal communication between cultures is knowing the appropriate amount of eye contact to use.

  34. CSR:

    I find eye contact such a fascinating topic. We have a very strict understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate levels of eye contact, and definitely these change depending on which culture you are in. Staring is also an interesting cultural difference.

  35. Mark P:

    http://www.aftertoomany.org/the-importance-of-social-networking-for-job-search.htm
    Some tips on the importance of social networking as it implies to getting a job.

  36. CSR:

    Great tips!

  37. allent4:

    social networking technology

  38. Duy:

    Personally, I find that the tone of someone’s voice and also their facial expressions are one of the most important forms of non-verbal communications. \It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.\

    Sometimes I do need to be more wary of how I come off, as I’ve been called out by friends for being bored or uninterested, but I have legitimately just been too tired to look engaged in the conversation. Usually I am an expressive person and my \default face\ is a smile, however, there are situations where a smile is not appropriate. I smile when I’m extremely uncomfortable as well, such as back in the day when I had to work the returns counter at a retail store. That did not turn out so well for me, as a customer got more irate, misinterpreting the expression on my face. I had to apologize for coming across a certain way as it was completely unintentional.

    In regards to inter-cultural differences that I’ve experienced in my day-to-day, my sister’s husband and family are from Fiji, and the two things that come to the top of my mind are time and show of affection. Their family is very much \whenever\ when it comes to time. I was born in Canada and I am super high-strung in regards to time. (My sister made a strong point about having the wedding ceremony start on time :)) Also, with my Vietnamese family we don’t really hug each other, whereas I’ve learned to hug and kiss both cheeks as a greeting and show of affection when I come visit my sister’s inlaws.

  39. CSR:

    Probably the some of the most observable differences between cultures are those related to non-verbal communication.

  40. Mark P:

    To me the most important form of non-verbal communication is body language. In class we watched a youtube clip without sound yet everybody could tell the context of what was being said even though they couldn’t hear the words.

    I feel like I always need to clarify my non-verbal communication. I have big eyes in the first place and I find that often times when somebody I don’t know looks at me, for example a waitress at a restaurant, my eyes get even big making it seem like I have a question to ask even when I don’t.

    In answer to the last question, I have a bunch of Polish friends and one afternoon we had just finished running a race in Edmonton and two of the guys were bantering back in forth loudly in Polish. An elderly man who didn’t speak the language walked by and said “you guys shouldn’t be arguing.” In response one of the Polish guys looked at him and said: “we are not angry, but we speak a very aggressive language, in fact we are giving each other a greeting.”

  41. CSR:

    Interesting point, is our body language associated with the language we speak? Not sure, its an interesting observation though.

  42. alvamp:

    social media for not for profit organizations
    http://mashable.com/2010/05/03/non-profit-social-media-results/

  43. CSR:

    Really like that article. Thanks

  44. vincents2:

    When we talk about social networking technology, we often focus on how it may change the our interaction with friends and working peers. But what is the impact of family, we assume that family relationship turns out worse due to social networking technology such as facebook or twitter as we focus more on internet at home rather than family members.
    However it may not be the case, social networking technology does give positive effects! Such as me as an international students, I am keeping constant contact with my family back in Hong Kong through facebook and skype. This is a matter of how you use it and when you use it.

    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/08/social-media-family-finding-the-balance/

  45. CSR:

    True, are we exchanging quick messages more than meaningful conversations? Does “networking” with friends lead to a situation where we don’t really know the people we spend the most time with?

  46. Lizette:

    Today, communication is faster and information more accessible, yet finding meaing and understanding our world certainly became more difficult since the social media revolution came into its own. Acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms abound and, depending on your social “group” many of these can mean totally different things to different people. A few reccommended sites that deal with these and other communication issues are listed below.

    “It’s Been Leaked Social Media Acronyms Are Being Re-Defined” by Ron Callari (http://inventorspot.com/articles/its_been_leaked_social_media_acronyms_are_being_redefined) relays how the dynamics of social media acronyms are changing and shaping our world.

    On the WordPress blog “digiphile,” you can find a list of fifty top Twitter acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms (http://digiphile.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/top-50-twitter-acronyms-abbreviations-and-initialisms/ ). These are partcularly useful for novice Tweeps.

    While you might not even have given it a second thought, your online personality (your brand) says a great deal about you. In “3 Steps for Developing an Online Reputation Management Strategy,” Ron Jones discuss some strategies for creating and mainting an online reputation: http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2109654/steps-developing-online-reputation-management-strategy?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+ClickZExperts+(ClickZ+-+Columns)

    In the piece “10 reasons social networking benefits students” by Haley Henry, the writer provides a shortlist of the importance of socia media for the modern student: http://www.kstatecollegian.com/edge/10-reasons-social-networking-benefits-students-1.2480338.

    Since blogging (even here) is just another way of communicating who you are and a way of sharing your ideas with the world, it is important to ensure that you are getting your intended meaning (or message) across. The article, “Your Communications May Not Be Communicating,” elaborates on this point here: http://blogs.hbr.org/ashkenas/2011/02/your-communications-may-not-be.html and is very helpful in pointing out the challenges we face in communication.

    Have a super weekend, peeps.

    Until next time.

    Lizette De Klerk
    2011-09-24

  47. CSR:

    Like the article “10 reasons”, but wonder, are we exaggerating the capacity of social media to make a “positive” change in the world? Do we as North Americans have the ideology that enables us to use social media as the people of Egypt did, for example? Or are we to embedded within the stability of our own culture to truly rock the boat, or even, “rock the vote”?

  48. alvamp:

    The parameters we set today in class for “non-verbal communication” include tone and temperament of voice. I find these two components very intriguing. Working in a head office environment, my colleagues and are required to communicate with employees at all levels within the company. The majority of this communication is done by phone. The thing that has caught my attention is that, although I cannot SEE who is being spoken to, I can often predict who is on the other end of the phone (ie, AVP, Manager, Customer Service Rep., or personal friend) based on my co-workers tone, temperament and general attitude. This is true even if the words are ignored.

    I often have to clarify my non-verbal cues. I am not one to speak to before I think and will often take time to analyze a situation internally before I open my mouth. This has been interpreted as shock, disapproval or disinterest.

    I encountered significant differences in non-verbal cues between cultures when I was training a recent immigrant to take over my last job. I felt as if she was constantly invading my personal space. This obviously made me uncomfortable, so I would move away from her. On the other side of this, she interpreted my withdrawal as a sign that I disliked her. The issue was eventually resolved when it was brought up “casually” by another co-worker and we both voiced our intent.

  49. CSR:

    Interesting observations, I wonder if you can detect a “tone” in email?

  50. michaellee:

    I would think that there are no ‘one’ important type non-verbal communication. Each type of non-verbal communication is in itself important and contribute equally important to our day to day communication. As discussed in class, the time for the interviewee have to wait for the interviewer during a job interview displays who has the power and status, but without the proper body language and/or voice tone, the situation could easily be reversed.

  51. CSR:

    Indeed, as communication scholarship evolved, it became apparent that “uni-directional” models of communication were not adequate in capturing how communication actually functions.

  52. michaellee:

    As a person interested in starting a small business, here is a link to an article explaining the importance of social networks on small businesses:

    http://www.smallbusinessbranding.com/2985/the-importance-of-social-networking-for-small-businesses/

  53. CSR:

    Great article!

  54. kennethblake:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important? -I think that body language is the most important non verbal communication because nowadays, less people talk with each other, but would rather chat on line or text. But before we even approach each other, we observe what we are wearing, what tattoos or jewelry adorns us and how we position ourselves, and come to a conclusion if we should even approach that individual or not. For example, if i had a tattoo of a dragon and skull montage going up and down my arm along while wearing short sleeves, dark glasses and crossed arms, I may be less approachable to a casual passer-by as compared to my arms being uncrossed, my glasses were off and I were smiling.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?
    -This happens to me all the time. At the church I attend, I wear many hats. At times I conduct the choir, I play music, or even proctor seminars. As a result, I have many things on my mind, and have a habit of frowning when I am in deep thought. Some of the other parishners ask if I am upset, or if I am ok. I usually am, but when I am occupied in my head, i habitually close down all other outside access, which makes it tough at times to be approachable during Sunday School some days.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?
    -Several come to mind with this question, but nodding is a biggie. As a black man, there is an unspoken rule in western canada that when we see each other, we acknowledge with a nod of the head or some other gesture to say hello. When I went to Toronto recently, the rule seemed to not apply. I felt ignored. However, it turned out that there is a smaller population of black people in Alberta than in Ontario, so it is more of a special event when we see each other here, where as in Ontario I am just another face.

  55. CSR:

    That’s an interesting observation about the ways we interact with each other according to perceived notions of difference, in your case, in relation to race. Do Calgarians have a different “normative” idea of race than people from Toronto?

  56. Graham:

    Eye contact is, in my opinion the most important aspect of non-verbal communication.
    A persons motive and true feelings are always given away in the eyes.
    On the same token, much like mentioned above, there are strict limitations to what is appropriate (staring etc) and we have been trained throughout our lives to avoid crossing these social boundaries.

    Yes, I have had to clarify non verbal cues in the past and I’m sure I will have to in the future.
    Just recently my roommate asked me to listen to a song and she thought that my body language indicated that I disliked it. She attempted to defend it before it was over, and I hadn’t meant to give that signal, I was just trying to focus and listen to give the song a fair chance.

    Much like moirad I was in Mexico with a friends family when I was much younger and the first man who I was introduced to gave me a friendly peck on the cheek. It definitely caught me off guard, and was different then what I was used to.

  57. Jessica:

    I feel like tone of voice and facial expressions are two of the most important aspects of non verbal communication because they are what make a point when your talking to someone. You cannot have a decent conversation, if everything you say sounds like your angry or you look like your always unhappy or don’t want to be talking to the person… unless that’s what your trying to accomplish. Also, eye contact is huge! I like to know when people are listening to me and its nice if their not constantly looking away or texting.

    I remember when I was younger, and talking to my parents, I used to not realize how much tone of voice actually plays a part in communication and from just a normal conversation in my thoughts, my parents would say “watch your attitude.” I realized when I got a little but older how much this form of non verbal communication is important.

  58. therese:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important? Facial expressions and body language. A fake smile says more than words! Humour can be used to communicate effectively. I shared a photo on facebook this morning about teenagers. The gist of it is “Tired of being harrassed by stupid parent? Move out now while you still know everything!”

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why? I seem to have to tell people I am not upset a lot. I guess when I am preoccupied I look serious which translates for some people, ie family, into they have done something to upset me!

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?
    We got in a cab once and the driver asked where we were going. I gave the directions and he completely ignored me and asked my husband where we were going! Apparently in his culture the women don’t give directions! My husband didn’t answer him though, so I repeated the directions, which seemed to make him very uncomfortable as he didn’t communicate at all for the rest of the trip until we reached our destination!

  59. Roland K:

    I find that all forms of non-verbal communication are important. It just depends on the time and place. For example when I’m playing tennis, I have to use my hands to signal to plans to my partner, or when I’m playing 4 of a kind (card game) I need to use facial gestures to communicate to my partner without anyone else seeing.

    I believe that since people can misinterpret verbal communication, misinterpreting non-verbal communication isn’t that odd.

    Handshakes and waves are universal. I’ve shaken hands around the world.

  60. nathanking:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

    Personally, I think that our body language and facial expressions are the most important. It is very easy for people to read these expressions, even if subconsciously, and the effect they can have on an interaction, both positively and negatively astounds me. These non-verbal ques are also very difficult to mask for most people whereas other things such as environment, status, and time can easily be manipulated to suit our needs.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

    I frequently need to clarify my non-verbal communication with people. Something as simple as looking grumpy before a morning coffee can cause someone to think that I am angry with them. However, a simple explanation is usually enough to clear the situation.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

    Most recently, at the U of C career fair, I had a conversation with a recruiter at their company booth. This person had a very different sense of spatial awareness, presumably due to culture, that I did. Our, quire literally, “face-to-face” conversation made me feel awkward and uncommonly conscious of how my breath might smell.

  61. Lizette:

    My earlier post was in response to our in-class assignment, while this one is in response to the three questions based on lecture two.

    For me, the two most important non-verbal communication methods are: tone of voice and body language. Both these methods of communication can either support a spoken meaning (message) or contradict it, and serve as important clues of the truth and honesty of a speaker’s verbal communication. A raised voice delivering a soothing verbal message will just not be that soothing. Rather, I will interpret it as possibly hostile and aggressive and adjust my response accordingly. If I speak to someone and they (pretend to) listen to me speaking, but their eyes are not focussed on my face, I will know immediately that my message is either not interesting to them, or they have something else on their mind, but either way, they are not attentive to my verbal message and will probably miss my intended meaning.

    In longer term personal relationships, it is easy to fall into a rut when communicating with people you believe you know well and who (supposedly) knows you well. Often we speak a few words out loud, but our message carries a deeper meaning than what we gave voice to. An example is when a husband tells his wife: “Honey, I think you should put the kids to bed early tonight.” While he does not state it out loud, his suggestive tone of voice and the twinkle in his eyes will suggest to his wife that he wants to be intimate with her and she should get the kids to bed early to allow this to happen. Sometimes, though we can get our wires crossed in these kinds of ambiguous forms of communication. I recall an occasion where I part of a conversation in my office, yet also had some other pressing business on my mind. I found my attention wandering slightly, but was still following the conversation although my body automatically slightly turned away from the speaker towards my desk. The speaker immediately stopped speaking, having picked up on the fact that my attention was only partly focussed on our conversation. Not to be rude, I had to re-orientate my body, apologise, and explain that I was listening, asking the speaker to please continue their conversation, while all the while keeping my eyes focussed on the speaker’s face and making constant eye contact for my verbal message to be believable.

    As I mentioned in my post in response to lecture one, I prefer written communication as verbal and non-verbal communication are very ambiguous when communicating with people of all walks of life. Cultural differences are effective barriers to successful communication. Having lived in third and first world countries, one of the first indications of cultural differences is the matter of personal space. I cannot stand it if a stranger move too close to my body as it makes me feel unsafe and violated somehow. It has happened to me on many occasions in the past, while lining up at the bank or shopping mall, that people with less need of personal space will move too close to me, and I took what I felt was “corrective” (but negative) measures. I would stick my elbows out, step backwards unexpectedly, or just give them a mean stare to make them back away a little. While I understand the cultural difference in the need for personal space, I (almost) cannot help myself. I have, with time, though, learned to adjust my behaviour to be more positive and still achieve the desired result (to have them move away a little). I would park my cart a little farther from the person in front of me or politely reach for something on a rack next to me and then say “excuse me” and this would make them move a little. I often find my actions rather comical, and it reminds me that we all deal with our social hang-ups. (2011-10-01).

  62. mikaylabassett:

    I personally think that all types of non verbal communication are important in our day to day lives depending on the different scenarios we are placed in. However, most important for me would probably be body language and eye contact. I find that the right body language and eye contact can do a lot to reinforce someone’s message, but the wrong can also greatly alter how you perceive it. I know I personally give much away by how my body reacts when I am speaking to someone. I also think how you choose to dress and present yourself, especially in your teens years, holds quite a bit of importance.
    I’ve done some traveling and the biggest inter-cultural difference in non verbal communication I’ve found usually presents itself right away in how you greet each other. Unfortunately, this can sometimes leave room for miscommunication.

  63. courtneyfleury:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?
    I think that hand gestures are probably one of the most important types of non-verbal communication because of their use in sign language – they are used as the sole form of communicating by hearing-impaired people which means that they are very significant. Even to people who can hear, we use them to articulate our words. Another important form to me would be facial expressions, because they reveal a lot about what we’re thinking, or nodding/shaking your head. For instance, the “‘sup nod” is something that a lot of people do unconsciously to acknowledge people.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?
    I think most of us have had to clarify non-verbal communication because the gestures we make are not always universal. Sometimes when I’m driving and I motion for somebody to switch lanes in front of me, people hesitate and near a really clear indication that they’re free to pass. In this case, though, it’s probably best to double-check to avoid an accident!

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?
    On a school trip to Poland/Ukraine in high school, none of us spoke the language and we had to try to talk to the people there using hand gestures and mimicking actions. We went to Auschwitz-Birkenau and some of the people there did a hand signal when we passed by the mass graves which nobody in my group understood but by watching them and seeing their reactions, we grew to understand that they were meant as a declaration of respect and mourning, and by the end of the tour some of our group members were doing it as well.

  64. JillTruscott:

    I think that the most important form of non-verbal communication is eye contact and body language. Where someone looks, and for how long they hold eye contact, is a way of judging truthfulness, directness, and confidence. It can come across as offensive or distracted when someone constantly looks away when having a conversation with you. I think that this form of non-verbal communication is so important in expressing not only a genuine interest in what the other person has to say, but an overall confidence with oneself to be able to hold this eye contact. As well, your eyes can often express more then words, and tend to be a strong form of communication in their own. Body language is also important – hand gestures, posture, touch, and composure, and all of these work together to communicate to other people your feelings, personality, and intentions.

    I feel that non-verbal communication can often be misconstrued. For example, there have been times in which I have appeared bored and uninterested in conversation with another person because of my body language and lack of eye contact. Whereas in these times, even though I held a real interest for what this person was saying, I was so overwhelmed in my thoughts of an upcoming exam or an exhausting list of things that I had to get done, that I could not express my honest fascination in what they were saying. Hand gestures and posture can also come across as being offensive, when in actuality, the person may not even realize that their actions are being miscommunicated in this way.

    In my travels throughout Asia, I have come across many differences in Inter-cultural communication. For example, where in Canada it is commonly thought of as rude to stare at someone, while I was in India I found that staring was not culturally inappropriate, but rather an expression of curiosity and intrigue. Another interesting point to acknowledge amongst inter-cultural differences in non-verbal communication is that of fashion and dress. A continuing trend, especially in Western society, is expressing oneself through personal fashion. I find that this greatly varies among cultures, for example what is considered to be modest, and also traditional dress vs. contemporary fashion. Another form of non-verbal communication I encountered in Asia was that of bowing. Whereas it is not common to see someone bow down to another person in Western society, bowing in some of these East-Asian traditions is a Buddhist sign of devotion, whether it is to Buddha or as a sign of respect to someone, or to show reverence to one’s position in society. As well, I learned to be wary of using my left hand in social matters, of touching someone’s head, and of the positioning of my feet, as these things are often seen to be socially and religiously offensive and insulting to many of the Asian traditions.

  65. shidashabanirad:

    I think there are so many non-verbal communication types that are important.
    For example:
    Body language ( so many things can be interperted by the way ones actions may seem. from Flirting to trying to keep distance and to protect your space to hurting somebody and showing respect and vice versa.
    Face expressions-
    Eye Rolling!!! raising an eye brow and making sarcastic face expressions you can easily put down a person by these actions and make them feel little and un comfortable.

    I have personally had to clarify my actions as far as body language goes. I tend to be too friendly without meaning to do so and i know people have taken my actions in ways that i did not mean for them to take. so its important to be aware of your surroundings and body language and what it is that your doing and the message that it is sending because we can never put ourselves in somebody else’s brain and see what it may be thats going through their mind.

    I am middle-easter, however been raised in the western society and culture. I try to go back home and visit my family often, however it is extremely difficult. The reason is the way i am comfortable being myself here is definitely not a way i can be there because it affects the vision i portray and due to cultural views i am right away judged for it. The way i would dress here normally is not something i can do back home in respect to my elders and others. (when i say the way i dress i mean i wouldn’t be able to wear a tang top while showing my full length arms and etc.) so nothing extreme. i also have difficulties communicating with everyone else because i have to act a certain way and keep distance from all male-kind (including far male cousins) so it makes life really difficult. I can’t blame them for the way they live their lives because thats what they have been raised to know, live and follow. What i can do is respect their ways and try to live as they would to not disrespect them in any way possible during the time I’m there. Once i am back home though i go on a tank top binge!

  66. Christin Bell:

    I think that body language is the most important non-verbal form of communication. If your body language does not match your message that you are communicating then your receiver might not receive the right message or might it might discredit your message. Whenever I a communicating with friends or co-workers I always am conscience to ensure that I am conveying the correct body language.
    My co-workers are from many different cultures, but most of them are from France. They seem to have a different idea of chromatics. They are constantly 10-15 minutes late for meetings. At first, I found this to be very rude to the presenter and co-workers. After attending cultural training I learned that they are not meaning to be rude, but it is just part of their culture. I was wrongly interpreting their non-verbal conversation.

  67. Fraser Flemons:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

    Body language is something that can convey more meaning than words. It can also show more sincerity in certain situations.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

    Sometimes if I am slouching or sitting with my arms crossed while someone is talking to me, they will say that I am not interested in what they are saying or that I must be opposed to it. Other times I may appear to be “standing over them” and that would be perceived as acting superior or showing dominant intentions.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

    I have noticed that certain cultures “speak with their eyebrows” by showing much more movement and emotion in their eyebrows. Other cultures will blink evidently to show that they agree or as a farewell.

  68. Rachel C.:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

    i believe that body language is a most important non-verbal communication. you can easily deliver your message without saying any words. and body gestures also express your actual thoughts.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

    since I work as a server, I know how it makes me feel good when customers smile at me. Therefore, I did it once when I was at restaurant as a customer and the server thought I had a question. I felt bad that he had to come across to our table 🙁

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

    In Korea, my home country, it is really important that how young people need to respect elders. The silence during conversation with elders shows the respect. However, it seems like the meaning of silence is different in western culture. It is better to say something while others talking to show that I’m listening.

  69. Michael Lee:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

    I would think that non-verbal communication that utilizes body language is the most important as people can figure out if you are lying or not based on your body language (see the tv show ‘Lie to me’, this might be fiction, but there are some truth to it)

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?

    No, because I would not have realized that I need to clarify it since most non-verbal communication happens at a subconscious level.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

    Space between two people interacting in different culture. Also there are also gestures that are acts of politeness in one culture, but profanity in another.

  70. Raeesa Merali:

    Here’s my article about social networking technology: http://asktristramlodge.com/importance-social-media

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?
    I believe all forms of non-verbal communication is important because it all depends on the situation you’re in. But I had to choose one I’d go with facial expressions because it’s the one form of expression which truly shows how the person is feeling in silence. Like the saying goes “if looks could kill.”

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?
    Most of the time I’m clarifying my non-verbal communication with my mom, since half the time I approach her she’s in the middle of something like driving for instance. She doesn’t take her eyes off the road to look at me (which I’m not saying I would want her to take her eyes off the road or anything) but if I’m trying to get a point across I usually have to say it verbally.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?

    When I lived away from home to do my practicum last summer I had a Korean roommate who just moved to the country, a lot of our communication depended on body language and facial expressions because she was just beginning to learn the english language.

  71. moses ndirangu:

    To me the most important is eye contact ,Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s response.

  72. yamna:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?

    I think the most important form or non-verbal communication are hand-gesture, body language in general, you can tell alot about the person just but -the way they walk, how the stand, amount of eye contact they make. and inturn this leads you define there personality and how you should behave with/around them

  73. Stephen Moore:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?
    I feel that body language is the most important form of communication. Often with people whom you are familiar with, you can carry out ‘conversations’ using body language alone. That facial expressions, and gestures can fully communicate thoughts to others.
    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?
    I used to play football in highschool, and while playing we would often use signals to communicate things to each other, such as audibles, or what a person needs to do in the play. Often when a ‘new’ player would enter a game, they fail to understand these signals (whether the signal is coached or developed between two individual players)
    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?
    I don’t think i have really ever noticed a difference in use of non-verbal communication, but when there is a language barrier, non-verbal communication becomes more depended on then if there were no language barrier.

  74. Crystal She:

    What forms of non-verbal communication do you feel are most important?
    I feel like Kinesics and eye contact are very important forms of non-verbal communication. I enjoy people watching and it’s funny how much you can read just from a persons reactions, when you get used to them making these actions you can start to predict what they are feeling. Even in the hallways you can see how everyone looks at everyone else differently, looking at couples is really funny as well.

    Have you ever needed to clarify your non-verbal communication for someone, and if so, why?
    Yes, my face always looks sad, tired or really pissed off. People always ask what’s wrong with me especially when I’m sitting alone because they think I’m sad when really all I want to do is watch youtube videos. Also I tend to smile at all the wrong times. In dance class my teacher actually called me out telling me that I was closing my eyes and sleeping. I don’t remember every doing that, I might have blinked a few times since it was 8am in the morning but the way my body position was probably made her to draw to the conclusions that I was dozing off in dance class which could happen if we weren’t moving every single second. I think confusion with non-verbal communication happens all the time especially between boys and girls since they try to “read signs” of each other.

    What types of inter-cultural differences have you experienced in terms of the use of non-verbal communication?
    I have some filipino friends and every time they see an elder they grab their hand and put it towards their forehead. I remember the first time I saw that I thought it was very weird but now I’m used to it and I even do it sometimes. I’ve also gotten used to saying Ate or Kuya to people older than me when I’m at filipino gatherings.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)