With and Without Words (Grades 11-12)

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With and Without Words

With and Without Words

Have you ever had a conversation with someone without ever uttering a single word? Chances are you have, and you accomplished it by using a wide variety of facial expressions, hand gestures, and other body language cues. How much of a single message is expressed verbally and how much of it comes through nonverbally depends on many factors including the location, culture, message, the person sending—and the one receiving, and familiarity they have with each other. Clearly, a close friend, family member, or spouse is going to communicate in ways that are easier for you to recognize and respond to than those of a complete stranger. Some studies have indicated that as much as 90 percent of any message is communicated via nonverbal means.

Both verbal and nonverbal messages carry meaning and when they are congruent or complementary, the message is often clear and understandable. Nonverbal cues can reinforce, add to, clarify, elaborate, and explain the message embedded in the verbal portion of the message. However, when the body language clues conflict or contradict the verbal message, confusion is a common response. If the two do not agree, studies have shown that people will tend to believe the nonverbal message over the one put into words.
Which detail about nonverbal communication is the most accurate?
  1. If it is in conflict with words, people will generally choose the nonverbal message.
  2. Experts disagree on what percentage of a message is communicated nonverbally.
  3. A nonverbal message is much easier to understand and is rarely confusing or misleading.
  4. The more you know a person, the less chance of using nonverbal methods of communication.
What is an example of nonverbal communication?
  1. Singing a song
  2. Reading out loud
  3. Waving goodbye
  4. Reciting a speech
Which factor does not typically affect the nonverbal message between two people?
  1. The sender
  2. The length
  3. The culture
  4. The location
How much of a message comes through nonverbally does not change from one person to the next.
  1. True
  2. False
                   expressions include smiling, frowning, winking, and wincing.

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