Observing Verbal and Nonverbal Behaviors

Overview

Write a 3–4-page analysis of gendered verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors that you observe in others. In preparation for the assessment, observe individuals in a public space and take note of your observations.

In this assessment, you will apply your knowledge of gendered communication to explain the communication styles you observe in the world around you.


By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 2: Evaluate personal and social dimensions of gender, communication, and culture.
    • Explain gendered verbal and nonverbal communication in a public setting.
  • Competency 3: Compare and contrast both verbal and nonverbal communication differences between men and women.
    • Describe traditional expectations for nonverbal communication.
    • Examine patterns of nonverbal behavior between men and women.
    • Explain violations of nonverbal expectation.
  • Competency 5: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
    • Communicate effectively and concisely using APA formatting.

    Context

    The Assessment 3 Context document explores various differences in verbal and nonverbal communication between females and males. You may wish to review the document for an overview on those key concepts and ideas.

Questions to Consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

For the following questions, refer to the Resources for links to the Lieberman resource and the Barr resource:

  1. How do women and men differ in their typical use of nonverbal communication to regulate interaction?
  2. What is the cause of men’s typically lower vocal pitch? Is it physiology?
  3. How accurately do women and men interpret others’ emotions?
  4. Who generally talk more, women or men?
  5. How do childhood games affect adult communication styles?
  6. What is conversational maintenance work and who generally does it?
References

Barr, K. R. (2013). Male and female communication styles [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/188130-male-and-…

Lieberman, S. (n.d.). Differences in male and female communication styles. Retrieved from http://www.simmalieberman.com/articles/maleandfema…

Resources

Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Capella Multimedia

Click the links provided below to view the following multimedia pieces:

  • Key Terms | Transcript.
    • This media piece focuses on the key concepts and definitions you must be familiar with as you go through the course.
  • Gender and Communication | Transcript.
    • This interactive will help you review the information you learned about men’s and women’s verbal and nonverbal communication. Pay particular attention to which characteristics fit with which sex.
Library Resources

The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

Internet Resources

Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.

Bookstore Resources

The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

  • Fixmer-Oraiz, N., & Wood, J. T. (2019). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.
Internet Resources

Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.

Bookstore Resources

The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

  • Fixmer-Oraiz, N., & Wood, J. T. (2019). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.

ASSESSMENT 3 CONTEXT

Language and Gender

Men and women often exhibit very distinct verbal and nonverbal communication styles. Specifically, both masculine and feminine verbal and nonverbal communication styles include behaviors that help us define and better understand how gender is connected to communication. Language often defines men and women differently, and in turn, male and female communication and language styles help shape our awareness. It is important to understand that gendered language is often learned, and our individual cultures help shape our verbal communication mannerisms. Specifically, “because we use symbols to communicate, language shapes how we think of ourselves in addition to how we see the world around us” (Wood, 2015, p. 91). These combined factors can lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation.

Keep in mind the following (Wood & Bodey, 2011, pp. 85–86):

  • Male generic language excludes women.
  • Language defines men and women differently.
  • Language shapes awareness.
  • Language organizes perceptions of gender.
  • Language evaluates gender.
  • Language allows self-reflection.
  • Nonverbal communication is all elements of communication other than words.
  • Scholars state that the majority of meaning comes from nonverbal behaviors.

Nonverbal Communication

When it comes to nonverbal communication, the signs and signals we use to communicate are extremely important. Often, these things help shape who we are as well as our communication style. Scholars estimate that nonverbal communication accounts for almost 65 percent to 93 percent of communication meaning (Jolly, 2000). Nonverbal communication also relates to gender. “Like language, nonverbal communication is related to gender and culture in two ways: It expresses cultural meanings of gender, and men and women use nonverbal communication to present themselves as gendered people” (Fixmer-Oraiz & Wood, 2019, p. 117).

Two important things to remember are as follows (Wood & Bodey, 2011, p. 94):

  • Nonverbal communication is all elements of communication other than words.
  • Scholars state that the majority of meaning comes from nonverbal behaviors.

The following tables describe some nonverbal and verbal communication differences between males and females:

Nonverbal Communication Differences

Females

Males

Claim less territory.

Claim more territory and are more likely to have a room of their own (den, study, workshop, and so forth).

Stand closer to each other while talking.

Maintain a greater distance from each other while talking.

Use more eye contact.

Use less eye contact.

Use more facial expression.

Use less facial expression and reveal less emotion.

Are more likely to return a smile.

Smile less than women.

Take up less space—cross arms.

Sit with legs apart and often hold arms away from their bodies.

Use fewer gestures. Use gestures when seeking approval.

Use more gestures, especially in social situations.

Use more eye contact.

Use less eye contact.

Verbal Communication Differences

Females

Males

Speak softly.

Speak loudly.

Speak in a high-pitched voice.

Speak in a deeper-pitched voice.

Speak more quickly.

Speak more slowly.

Speak less directly.

Speak more directly (get to the point).

Both verbal communication and nonverbal communication shape our interactions with others in business and personal relationships. It is critical to understand the different aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as the role gender plays in each. Our survival as a species depends upon our ability to effectively communicate, both verbally and nonverbally.

References

Jolly, S. (2000). Understanding body language: Birdwhistell’s theory of kinesics. Corporate Communications, 5(3), 133–139. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/doc…

Fixmer-Oraiz, N., & Wood, J. T. (2019). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.

Wood, J. T. (2015). Gendered lives: Communication, gender and culture (11th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Wood, J. T., & Bodey, K. R. (2010). Gendered lives: Communication, gender and culture (9th ed.). [Instructor’s Resource Manual]. Beverly, MA: Wadsworth.

 

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