Nonverbal communication is “the use of body language as opposed to the spoken word.” What that means is that our bodies give off messages when we are, or are not, speaking. NV communication does not include what I say, but does include how I say it. This is an area in which most communicators are not aware and do not pay close attention to. When we do not pay attention to our body language, we may give off a message that we did not intend to give. Emotions, especially, are revealed in our body language and can sometime contradict, or compliment, what we say. Nonverbal specialist and trainer Janine Driver always says: “you say more than you think!”
For this exercise, you are going to sit and observe speakers in a natural setting. What you will do is find a place and sit for 30-45 minutes and watch. You will observe three different conversations. Even if you do not hear what the speakers say, observe their bodies and attempt to interpret what their bodies are saying. Are their bodies complimenting? Are they excited (this can be seen when our bodies become more excited by showing more animation)? Is someone angry? Is there an argument occurring? Can you see if people are attracted to each other or possibly in a romantic relationship? Can you see the difference between men and women in their body orientation (men tend to stand at angles while women tend to speak straight on to each other…consider feminine and masculine behaviors here as well)? Can you possible tell if there is any other emotion in their body language (happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, contempt)? What do you see?
In your observations, think of what we discussed in this module. Look at their:
You can sit in the food court of a mall, go to a restaurant or busy store, or if you have a lot of people at your workplace you can observe there. Anywhere you can find people. Take your time and watch (It will be obvious in your summary if you slapped words on a page, so do not do that), but try not to be too “stalker-y”! You may do your observations with a friend and you may discuss what you see with each other; but you must do your assignment separately.
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