have found that the primary way people do so is through increasing gaze smiling

Have found that the primary way people do so is

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have found that the primary way people do so is through increasing gaze, smiling, and leaning forward (Palmer & Simmons, 1995). Conversely, one can communicate lack of intimacy and greater formality through distance, lack of eye contact, decreased vocal expressiveness, precise articulation, and tense postures (Burgoon & Hoobler, 2002). Page 244 In general, more intimate relationships—particularly romantic bonds—show higher levels of nonverbal involvement across all of the codes (more eye contact, more touch, more smiling, closer distance, and so forth). For romantic couples, the level of nonverbal involvement is a direct indicator of the relationship’s health (Patterson, 1988). Think back to the highly engaged couple in the diner booth. Although you don’t know who they are, what they’re saying, or what culture they’re from, you could reasonably conclude that they have a healthy relationship, based solely on their nonverbal behavior. Dominance and Submissiveness Recall the physically distant couple in the other diner booth. Rather than conveying intimacy, their nonverbal communication displays dominance and submissiveness. Dominance refers to the interpersonal behaviors we use to exert power and influence over others (Burgoon & Dunbar, 2000). Larger-than-normal use of space; access to
other people’s space, time, and possessions; one-sided use of touch (giving more, receiving less); indirect body orientation; direct gaze and staring; frowning and scowling; and silence—all of these codes signal the dominance of the person who employs them (Carney, Hall, & Smith LeBeau, 2005). And gender has little effect—these behaviors are perceived as dominant when displayed by either men or women (Carney et al., 2005). In contrast, submissiveness is the willingness to allow others to exert power over us. We communicate submissiveness to others nonverbally by engaging in behaviors that are opposite those that express dominance, such as taking up less space; letting others control our time, space, and possessions; smiling more; and permitting others to interrupt us. Competently Managing Your Nonverbal Communication Ways to improve your nonverbal expression As you interact with others, you use various nonverbal communication codes naturally and simultaneously. Similarly, you take in and interpret others’ nonverbal communication instinctively. Look again at the Beaver family photo (on p. 248). While viewing this image, you probably don’t think, “What’s Samson’s mouth doing?” or “Gee, Frances’s arm is touching Samson’s shoulder.” When it comes to nonverbal communication, although all the parts are important, it’s the overall package that delivers the message. Given the nature of nonverbal communication, we think it’s important to highlight some general guidelines for how you can competently manage your nonverbal communication. In this chapter, we’ve offered very specific advice for improving your use of particular nonverbal codes. But we conclude with three principles for competent nonverbal conduct, which reflect the three aspects of competence first introduced in

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