Gestures are an essential component of typical communication. Conveying just as much information as speech, they often serve as complementary sources of crucial insights about people involved in a conversation. Therefore, it is crucial to perform a kinesics-based analysis of the communication style used by participants (Rowe & Levine, 2015). When applying kinesics-related knowledge to the target environment of a local community, one will find out that the people in it are inclined to use gestures that can be characterized mostly as affect displays. The focus on an emotional connection with an interloper that the specified type of body behavior provides allows building a quick and strong rapport with community members and newcomers, thus creating premises for successful communication. The gestures described below were observed during a town hall meeting.
Smiling is one of the most common affect displays that can be seen in the target community. Since smiling is viewed as a sign of politeness and common courtesy, it applies to any situation, from asking what time it is to support a conversation. Likewise, the use of nodding as a means of showing active listening is quite common in the specified community. Frowning as an expression of concern and attention had a similar purpose in the described scenario, although it may also be imbued with other meanings, such as discontent.
Surprisingly, the representatives of the target community also folded hands quite often when participating in a dialogue. Although the specified gesture is typically seen as alienating and is included in the regulator’s category for a reason, it does not have the same coloring in the target community. Instead, it implies that the interlocutor is quite serious in their listening intent (Dunn & Goodnight, 2016). A more lighthearted mood was conveyed with the help of a thumbs-up sign that the target community members sometimes use when talking to their significant others or friends. Typically classified as an emblem, the specified trend is particularly common as a means of silently supporting a person.
Illustrators are also very common in the target population. Primarily, pointers were used to show direction or indicate the person or object that represents the subject of the conversation. However, the specified gesture is often used in discretion since it is deemed as slightly impolite. In the setting under analysis, pointers as illustrators were often used to allude to specific issues discussed in it, such as the problems of education in the target community, with pointers being used to reference other schools, the education board, and similar stakeholders.
However, the prevalence of affect displays as the primary type of gestures used by the members of the local community does not imply that the rest of the types of non-verbal communication included in this taxonomy are ignored. For instance, the use of adaptors is also quite common, mostly due to the presence of multiple members of diverse communities. Since cross-cultural communication may imply misunderstandings, adaptors as the gestures that have a moderating effect on the experiences of confusion and anxiety are quite frequently used.
For example, it is quite common in the specified demographic to twirl an object such as a pen or a pencil in their hands while talking to someone, especially a stranger. Likewise, touching a chin was often used to signify investment and active listening. The steeple hand gesture was also used profusely during the meeting to indicate active listening. At one point, the representative of the local authority held his palms up to identify that he did not know the answer to the question that the participants were asking, which clearly as an emblem.
In addition, it is quite peculiar that it is not characteristic of the members of the target community to use the gestures that are defined as regulators in the describe classification. Specifically, the tools that are traditionally utilized to regulate and navigate the conversation are typically dismissed in the specified community. Increased politeness and unusually high levels of self-conscience as the main markers of the specified community can be considered the primary reason for the lack of regulators to be used in the conversation.
It is presumed that the interloper will be mindful of the time and patience of others, which is true most of the time, hence the lack of regulators in the conversations within the community. However, the specified peculiarity of the target audience becomes a rather taxing characteristic once a stranger, who is unfamiliar with the local communication standards, enters the conversation (Shea, 2016). During the town hall meeting, where one of the participants was a recently immigrated community member, the prolonged discussion of an infrastructure issue was becoming uncomfortably continuous since there was an evident lack in the specified type of gestures.
Remarkably, for the most part, the people were unaware of the gestures that they used to support the conversation. Apart from the movements that had a clear and direct intention, such as the pointing movement mentioned above, the described elements of nonverbal communication were so firmly engrained into the speech patterns of local community members that they were used subconsciously. Thus, the conversation occurred at a very natural pace, with a substantial amount of time that would have been used of clarifications having been saved for all participants. Based on the observed behaviors, one can conclude that the usage of gestures as a crucial part of verbal communication is critical to the successful delivery of the intended message.
Dunn, D. M., & Goodnight, L. J. (2016). Communication: Embracing difference. Routledge.
Rowe, B. M., & Levine, D. P. (2015). A concise introduction to linguistics. Routledge.
Shea, S. C. (2016). Psychiatric interviewing E-Book: The art of understanding: A practical guide for psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals. Elsevier Health Sciences.