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How far does non-verbal communication (NVC) regulate conversation?

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How far does non-verbal communication (NVC) regulate conversation? Interpersonal communication i.e. face-to-face communication is broken down into two forms, one being Verbal, the actual words used. The second being Non-Verbal, which includes facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, body posture and motions, and positioning within groups. It may also include the way we wear our clothes, or the silence that we keep. In 1948, Harold Lasswell, a political scientist proposed a linear model, which explains the communication process as "Who says what to whom in what channel with what effect." Lasswell's model focuses primarily on verbal communication. See diagram below Following this theory, which presents communication as a linear process, within which the roles of the sender and receiver are clearly distinguished. It would be fair to summarize that communication, is the major factor in this model. This model shows that information about the sender and receiver is not deemed relevant, neither is feedback. The following theorists dealt with the criticism of this theory by showing that although the verbal communication is a part of the message, it is actually a very small part. To find out what kind of effect our communication has, we need some kind of feedback. If I speak to you, I listen to your responses and watch for signs of interest, boredom etc. In other words, I use feedback from you to gauge the effect of my communication. ...read more.


If the response you get from the person is a one word answer and they deliberately then pick up a magazine, or turn slightly away from you and start to glance at posters on the wall, then they are discouraging any further communication with you. Whereas if the person you are talking too, is maintaining eye contact with you, and leaning slightly toward you, answering your questions with further open ended questions, then this gives the impression that they are interested in what you have to say, which will encourage you to continue your conversation with them. Eye contact is also an important channel of interpersonal communication, as it helps regulate the flow of communication, and it shows interest in the person you are communicating with. For example a person who is being examined by their doctor will feel more comfortable and have more belief in what the doctor is telling them, if the doctor is looking directly at them whilst talking, rather than head bent down over his prescription pad. Facial expressions are crucial in portraying a message in the correct tone intended. Smiling is a very powerful expression as it transmits friendliness, warmth, and a caring nature. Therefore if you smile frequently you will be perceived as a likable, friendly, warm and approachable person, which will encourage another person to start a conversation with you. ...read more.


Hall, Regarding Proxemics Edward Hall developed the idea of a set of expanding circles, called reaction bubbles, that described how humans manage the space around them. The innermost circle he identified as Intimate space, reserved for those we are closest to, and usually measuring 6 to 18 inches (15 to 45cm) in radius. The next level up he dubbed Personal space, the distance we are comfortable maintaining with close friends, about 1.5 to 4 feet (0.5 to 1.2m). He used the term Social space to indicate our preferred proximity to acquaintances, about 5-12 feet (1.5-3.6m). Public space for the distance we need for public speaking, 12-25 feet or more (3.6-7.6m). Halls reaction bubles diagram Figure 3 Hall Reaction Bubbles Kinesics - Birdwhistell Birdwhistell's Six Key Assumptions 1. All body movements have meaning potential in communicative contexts. 2. Behaviour can be analyzed because of patterns and repetitions. 3. Although body action has biological limits, the use of body motion in interaction is part of the social system. 4. People's visual bodily activity can influence others. 5. Communicative functions of bodily activity can be studied. 6. A person's use of bodily activity will have unique, idiosyncratic aspects while also being part of a larger social system shared with others. -- R. Birdwhistell, Kinesics and Context, 1970 After considering all of the above factors, it has become very clear to me, that when I wish to communicate with another person, there are far more important factors to consider, than just the words that I am going to use. ...read more.

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