Nonverbal Communication from Bevan and Sole

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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We discussed the distinction between content and relationship messages and noted that we tend to gather more relationship information from nonverbal communication. This means instead of verbally discussing our relationships, we often rely on nonverbal cues such as touch, personal space, facial expressions, and body movements to help us interpret those relationships. Factors like how comfortable individuals are with each other, and even whether the relationship is formal or informal in nature, can often be discerned through nonverbal signals (Bevan & Sole, 2014, Chapter 4.

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2). The next time you’re in public, take a moment to observe, from a distance, two people communicating. Even if you can’t hear their conversation, you may be surprised by how much you can learn about the communicators simply by observing their nonverbal interaction. Becoming more attuned to nonverbal messages used by both yourself and others can provide greater insight into your relationships.

Then, share an example that illustrates how this nonverbal communication is demonstrated in a hypothetical exchange.

An example could be noticing a young couple having a discussion while you’re on a bus. Even though one of the individuals is waving their arms, the partner appears disinterested, gazing in another direction. Although you can’t hear their conversation, you can deduce that they are likely in disagreement. The arm-waving partner seems to be agitated and upset, while the other person displays standoffish body language, indicating they’re uninterested in engaging in the dispute.

Using Bevan and Sole (Section 4.1), explain how biased language impacts attitudes, behaviors, and perception. Make sure to cover each aspect and elaborate on the overall significance of biased language.

Biased language consists of words and phrases that are prejudiced, offensive, and harmful. They might belittle or ostracize people based on factors like sex, race, ethnicity, social class, and physical or mental attributes.

“Language is the primary code humans use to communicate. It is crucial in forming and maintaining social relationships and is essential to your personal and professional success” (Bevan & Sole, 2014, Chapter 4.1). Formal language avoids colloquialisms, slang, and biased language. On the other hand, informal language involves a wide range of common and nonstandard English, including jargon, colloquialisms, idioms, and slang. The main issues with language appropriateness pertain to levels of formality, euphemisms, deceitful language, idiomatic expressions and slang, as well as biased and stereotypical language. While biased language is most commonly related to gender, it could also apply to sexual orientation, religion, race, and other factors.

Bevan and Sole argue that most academic research has found few differences in how men and women communicate. However, most people still tend to believe otherwise! For this question, you will:

While at work, I tend to be more on-demand, aggressive, and I want things done right away. I’m usually assertive, give eye contact to my co-workers, and take initiatives if I perceive someone is lacking. My communication is more assertive, and my tone of voice is soft while speaking. I do my best to help others, have abundant patience, and I give my all. My relationships with my co-workers are long-term because I’m forgiving.

Finally, list some of the benefits of what Bevan and Sole call an “androgynous” communication style. How can paying attention to gender help us become more effective communicators?

Like biological sex, we all possess a gender orientation. Gender orientation should not be considered on a continuum, with masculinity and femininity at each extreme and androgyny at the midpoint. Instead, each gender orientation is an individual construct or dimension that is uniquely related to behavior (Stephen & Harrison, 1985). Androgynous individuals can adapt and be flexible, as well as focus on and be positive towards others during interpersonal interactions (Wheeless & Duran,1982). Therefore, paying attention to gender can help us become better at effectively communicating because it fosters an understanding of each person’s aspects based on their gender orientation.

Watch at least the first 10 minutes of the following video titled Digital Communication Skills: Dos and Don’ts. Based on this and Bevan and Sole (Section 4.4), what are two key points we need to be aware of in relation to computer-mediated communication? Explain what specific ways you can use this advice to become a better communicator.

Bevan and Sole (2014) state, “When communicating, be conscious of the language you use and the nonverbal signals you send.” Based on Bevan and Sole (Section 4.4), we need to be aware of two key points in relation to computer-mediated communication: stay precise and accurate, and uphold professionalism. Earlier research on the differences between Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) and face-to-face interactions found Internet users rated CMC as less personal, more negative, task-oriented, and more focused on the self due to predominantly relying on verbal communication (e.g., Walther,1992). Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon (2003) examined how we change our communication style when we cannot see the other person, such as when we communicate by telephone. Building a relationship with a relational partner can enhance our relationship satisfaction (Caughlin & Shirabi,2013). It can also make our communications with others more adaptable and flexible.

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Nonverbal Communication From Bevan and Sole. (2022, Aug 23). Retrieved from