UNIT 5 COMMUNICATION STYLES 5.2 Non-verbal Communication A. Understanding body language: gestures, posture, facial expression Here could be a picture of 5-6 people sitting in the meeting around the table in different postures and with different facial expressions. I am going to scan and send you one picture from a book as an example of what I mean. The picture should represent some of the adjectives given in the task. Task: Look at the people. Which of the following words would you use to describe them? How did you decide? Open-minded Neutral Distracted Hostile Attentive Encouraging Interested Suspicious Bored Thoughtful Aggressive B. Comment Different physical signals mean different things to different people, depending on nationality, status and situation. In western cultures crossing your arms can indicate you are suspicious or even hostile. Smiling and keeping your hands visible can indicate you are open-minded. If you play with a pen or even your hair , it can mean you are distracted. Putting your hand on your chin can show you are thoughtful. Leaning back in your chair can sometimes be rude, but leaning forwards slightly can indicate you are attentive. Nodding gently can show that you are supportive and encouraging. To what extent are these physical signals true in your country? C. Discussion How appropriate are the following physical actions in our culture? a. perfectly acceptable b. just about acceptable c. not acceptable in a formal situation . Here might be pictures characterizing the following: 1. scratching your head 2. touching somebody on the arm as you speak to them (formal meeting) 3. adjusting your tie or trouser belt 4. crossing your arms when speaking to people 5. yawning 6. whispering to a colleague during the meeting 7. blowing your nose 8. nodding your head emphatically 9. while giving a presentation using your hand as a manual semaphore. D. Critical incident Discuss. What is happening here? Sales representatives from Germany and Britain are in a difficult negotiation. Things are getting tense. Franz Bauer sits upright and is disturbed as Jim Banks relaxes in his chair. F.Bauer feels that Jim is not taking the negotiation seriously. Jim feels that F.Bauer is getting more and more aggressive. E. Comment The two people misinterpret each other’s behaviour, and as a result, the situation becomes worse. The German’s upright position indicates the seriousness with which he is taking the situation, while Jim’s posture in the chair indicates his wish to diffuse the situation. (R.Gibson) F. Explain the meaning of the gestures: Here could be pictures or very a short video situation (it depends on what is available) I am giving the descriptions and the country. 1. somebody keeping fingers crossed 2. somebody showing the thumb down 3. somebody showing OK sign with his/her thumb and index-finger 4. somebody touches the nose with the middle finger and index- finger. 5. somebody touches the lower eyelid with the index-finger. 6. Somebody sitting on the chair in a very relaxed way 7. somebody shrugging shoulders G. Explanations 1. Good luck – in English speaking countries 2. Reject , refuse 3. OK in America In Britain – thumbs up In Germany, Brazil - very rude 4. It is very easy to keep the promise – in France 5. Don’t make me a fool - in France 6. Bored , no interest or respect – in Japan or Germany 7. I don’t know, I have no idea H. Answer the questions. 1. Are any of these gestures used in your country? Do they mean the same? 2. What is the secret of effective nonverbal communication across cultures?