Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations

By Donald W. Hendon; Rebecca Angeles Hendon et al. | Go to book overview

5
How 2: Nonverbal Communications in Cross-Cultural Negotiations

Nonverbal behavior may be defined as any behavior, intentional or unintentional, beyond the words themselves that can be interpreted by a receiver as having meaning. Nonverbal behaviors could include facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, body movements, posture, physical appearance, space, touch, and time usage. They are all different from culture to culture. Nonverbal behaviors either accompany verbal messages or are used independently of verbal messages. They may affirm and emphasize or negate and even contradict spoken messages. Nonverbal behaviors are more likely to be used unconsciously and spontaneously because they are habitual and routine behaviors.

The wide range of behaviors called nonverbal behavior can be divided into seven categories. Gestures, body movement, facial movement, and eye contact are combined in the kinesic code commonly called body language. Vocalics refers to call vocal activity other than the verbal context itself. Also called paralanguage, vocalics includes tone, volume, and sounds that are not words. Behaviors that involve touching are placed in the haptics code. The use of space is called proxemics, and the use of time is chronemics. Physical appearance includes body shape and size, as well as clothing and jewelry. Finally, artifacts refers to objects that are associated with a person, such as one's desk, car, or books. It should be emphasized that these codes do not usually function independently or sequentially; rather, they work simultaneously. In addition, nonverbal behavior is always sending messages; we cannot not communicate without using them, although, at times, the messages may be ambiguous. This wide range of nonverbal behaviors serves various functions in all face-to-face encounters. Most

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