March 15, 2014
Rodney Thirion/ Dr. Tim Glaid
What is demonstrative communication? Is it a look of disdain as your child walks through the grocery store with his or her arms crossed, brows furrowed, and pouting because you did not buy them their favorite sweet treat? Is it the look of disapproval on the face of the elderly woman watching you and your child interact? It could be both actually, because demonstrative is defined as the process of sending and receiving messages and involves, exchanging thoughts, messages or information. We all react differently to different stimulus, but one of the most common, non-audible ways to communicate is with our body language and facial expressions. For example, when someone is tired, he or she may yawn or flutter their eye lids. Someone unfamiliar with another person’s regular mannerisms may think they are tired. Demonstrative communication, or non-verbal cues and/or facial expressions also allow us to receive negative or positive feedback from others.
Demonstrative communication can be effective and ineffective. It can be positive and negative for both the sender and receiver. The environment in which communication takes place plays an important role in its effectiveness. Communication may take place directly or indirectly. Most of the time, face-to-face communication is more effective than other forms of communication. Indirect communication takes place through text messages, emails, and instant messages. These messages are also accompanied by facial expressions. In verbal communication, the participants talk directly. It is because of this reason that verbal communication is more effective than non-verbal (Nielsen, 2008).
In our everyday life, we use the non-verbal communication more than verbal communication. Demonstrative communication can be perceived by the listener as both positive and negative. The perception of participants is largely influenced by the use of non-verbal forms of communication. As part of the functional responsibilities of my job I am required to present to the executive sponsors on system performance on a frequent basis. There were several times while I presented that I became very uncomfortable while looking around the room at people scowling, with their arms crossed tight across their chests, staring at me. It made me so nervous that I began to slightly stutter and fidget two characteristics of poor public speaking. This example illustrates how the body language and facial expressions of others can so easily impact your demeanor.
There are other occasions in which another person’s mannerisms may inspire a positive reaction. When I was a freshman in high school I was extremely shy, not completely inept socially, but shy to the point I didn’t have a large circle of friends. So when I was approached by the ‘popular’ kids to hang out with them, I was shocked to say the least. This moment in time would prove to be a challenge that brought me out of my shell. The ‘leader’ of the group, Shelly, enjoyed engaging in activities that I had never been introduced to up until that time; things that ranged from drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and ditching school. I wanted so badly to fit in, but not if that meant getting expelled to possible thrown in jail. I had stopped interacting with that group and resumed the relationships I had with my other friends, but the real moment of impact for me was when I shared this al with my Mother. She and I had gone to dinner for our regular Wednesday ‘Mother-Daughter Date Night’, and I spilled my guts to her about everything.