Nonverbal Communication Between Gendre

”The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. ” No one, by no means, can disagree with the quote of Professor Peter F. Drucker which simply and clearly indicates the importance of nonverbal communication. Intercultural communication stresses on the nonverbal way of transmitting messages since some statistics showed that about two-third of the meaning in an interaction is conveyed nonverbal communication and only one-third by verbal communication (Birdwhistell, 1955; Burgoon, 1994).

As this type of communication varies from one culture to another, it also varies from one gender to another. In the following essay, I will attempt to shed light on some of the differences in a nonverbal communication between genders, as well as discussing how these differences affect the relationship between them. Nonverbal communication is defined as “an elaborate code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all ” (1). Nonverbal communication is considered to be a vital and powerful form of communication.

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People are very likely to trust your facial expression more than your words. Types of nonverbal communication are many such as: kinesics (body language), space (proxemics), facial expression, eye contact (oculesics), time (chronemics), touch (haptics), voice (paralanguage), and physical appearance. Studies lately have shown that these types differ and vary, in addition to culture, between genders. Men and women differ in the purposes of communication. According to John Gray, author of the best-seller “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Men generally communicate to transmit information and solve specific problems, while women usually use communication to express feelings and achieve emotional intimacy. Consequently, men and women differ significantly in their propensity to use nonverbal communication, their skill in interpreting it and their means of signalling their meaning. Accordingly, understanding gender differences in nonverbal communication is important when dealing with the opposite sex. In the following points, I will be shedding light on how men and women differ in each type communicating nonverbally.

Kinesics (body language): Kinesics is the interpretation of body movement and facial expressions. As a part of the non-verbal communication, is an outward reflection of a person’s emotional condition. The differences found between the gestures men and women use are only the intensity and frequency of gesture use, however, the most noticeable differences in signals are seen in dating. Men’s signals are simplistic – legs apart, more hair stroking, they stare longer at the woman, they play more with objects, more self-touch (more means more than usual, not more than women), and hands in pocket.

However, women’s body language is far richer – lower the shirt sleeve, play longer with their hair, emphasize thighs movements, more legs crossing exchange, and more stretching to enhance their chest. Space (proxemics): According to Edward Hall’s 1966 book “The Hidden Dimension,” the spatial zones used by women are typically smaller than those employed by men. A woman is likely to approach you more closely than a man. Women also prefer to have conversations side to side as opposed to face to face.

Hall believed this may explain the gender difference in use of space, as men prefer face-to-face conversations and people seem to become more conscious of the spatial proximity of another person when approached from the front rather than from the side. Facial Expression: Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Although there is no significant gender difference in the neurophysical processes that underlie our emotions, the way men and women express emotions through their facial expressions does vary. According to a 1976 study, by J.

Miller, research indicates that women are more likely to display their emotions via facial expressions than men, thus sending non-verbal cues through facial expression. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to express emotion through their actions and behavior. Eye contact (Oculesics): Eyes can communicate interest, anger, sadness, attraction and lying. Therefore, the visual sense is extremely important in a nonverbal communication. According to an article in “Psychology Today,”(2) eye contact is the most powerful form of non-verbal communication.

Women tend to hold eye contact longer, but are less likely to stare. Women also break eye contact more frequently than men. This is because men are less likely to make eye contact, but will hold it longer without realizing eye contact is returned. Touching (Haptics): Since men are more likely than women to associate touching with sexual intentions, heterosexual men are less likely to use touch during conversation with other men. Women, on the other hand, are far less reticent about touching other women because they also use touching as an expression of friendship or sympathy.

Voice (paralanguage): It refers to the non-verbal elements of communication used to modify meaning and convey emotion. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously, and it includes the pitch, volume, and, in some cases, intonation of speech. women tend to use higher pitch, softer volume, and more inflection. Men use lower pitch and greater volume. Men tend to speak more loudly than most women. This may occur because girls are taught from an early age to moderate their voices and to be “lady-life” while men are boys are encouraged to speak up.

In some cultures, like Japan, the difference may be even more pronounced. Although a soft tone does not mean that a the speaker is not in a position of authority, it can be perceived as weak. Soft-spoken women must learn to project their voices or risk being talked over. Physical appearance: Physical appearance is another type of nonverbal communication. Beauty, it has been noted, is in the eye of the beholder. However, some research has suggested that particular characteristics—bright eyes, symmetrical features, and thin or medium build—are generally associated with physical attraction (Cash, 1980; Kowner, 1996).

It has been stated that women are more likely to take care of their physical appearance than men do. A woman can’t go out without having looked at the mirror for at least 10 minutes. Physical attractiveness is an advantage in interpersonal communication. Physical appearance is especially important during first impressions between strangers. Skill: Women are better than men at interpreting nonverbal signal, according to the website Body Language Expert. They are also better at reading unintentional nonverbal messages, such as signals of deception.

Although men often send nonverbal signals, they typically do so with less subtlety than women. There will probably never be an end to discussion about how a male and a female communicate nonverbally. In relation to culture, the latter set standards for nonverbal communication. In the near future, and the equality between genders that is taking place in the world, there is much attention given to gender differences as it is said it will part of our culture. However, we can help minimize misunderstandings about the sexes by acknowledging which differences are inherent to our species and which are culturally based.

In a more equal, understanding and diverse world, we can appreciate differences empathically, not judgmentally. Talking about gender and sex differences might positively influence communication among men and women and regardless of the differences creating relationships with each other that can be successful through good communication. As a conclusion, the point is, men and women communicate differently, and even though we’re more cognizant of it, we’re not going to change that any time soon. ” Vive les differences!

References:
1- Edward Sapir (1935)
2- http://www.psychologytoday.com/
3- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paralanguage
4- http://www.ehow.com/list_6306177_gender-differences-non-verbal-communication.html 5- http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/body-language-of-men-and-women-9431.html 6-

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