We’re used to thinking of a conversation as an exchange of verbal utterances between two interlocutors or more. Actually, there is more than that. There’s a whole dimension of nonverbal aspects in a discourse between people. Chronemics is one of them, a hidden but prominent element of dialogues, referring to the perception, usage, and structure of time in the interaction.
After all, communication is a time-bound activity. Time acts as a fundamental organizing principle for these activities. We are spending quality time with our friends, we are running out of time for a deadline at work, we attempt to be on time for appointments, and so on.
Chronemics effect our communication in the sense that it holds a valuable meaning for the discourse. Taking a pause before replaying means that a crucial statement is coming up. A long silence in the middle of the discourse entails a nervous and embarrassing atmosphere.
Moreover, chronemics signals social status in a given interaction. It is all actually a matter of responsiveness, whether one has the freedom of extending his response time or is bound to reply instantly. Talking rapidly with hesitant pauses sets a neurotic or nervous mood to the speaker, indicating a subordinate relation to the other interlocutors, whereas on the contrary, a slow speech pace sets a deliberate and calm quality, and implicates a high competence and a dominant position.
Chronemics is an exceptional nonverbal cue with the fact that it is valid not only on a face-to-face interaction or even not solely vocal. Chronemics is manifested in written communication as well. Given an email from a prospect, the dealmaker might be manipulating his response time in order to increase or retain his competence.
Chronemics has the power to delineate and preserve the social map. For example, a boss can be late for a meeting but not his subordinates. Running a pitching presentation for investors may also presuppose extra waiting for them, due to display of power. It is even fashionable to be late to a party. On the other hand, if you are missing the upper hand, you might not want to take your time. One must not arrive at a job interview five minutes late, inasmuch as you probably won’t get the job. To sum up, signaling with organizing time and responsiveness has the power of negotiation of social competence.
Surely we are all well familiar with nonphysical channels of communication, mainly the textual mediums. It is a student corresponding with his advisor, colleagues emailing, online courses forums, the dating applications scene, texting with a friend and so on. These channels are written manifestations of nonverbal cues, and it is surprising how vast and rich these nonverbal and nonphysical cues are.
It is well noticed that on a face to face encounters people are signaling their social competence with varied physical cues. Fidgeting and gesturing, their speech volume and rhythm, postures and facial expressions, are all social signals that affirm, emphasize, or contradict the explicit content in a social occurrence. But where electronic communication plays an extensive channel, our social intelligence is put to the proof.
While on face to face encounters we have the ability to harvest information that driven from these abovementioned physical signals, on electronic circuits of communication, where these channels are off, it is one person signaling at a time, and using substitutional cues, each physical cue has its actual nonphysical textual counterpart.
On text-based communication, subtexts are embodied with various elements of nonverbal communication. It is expressed through words, symbols, images, punctuation, demarcations, or any combination of these elements. These cues can no doubtfully convey attitudes of understanding, reassurance, appreciation, empathy, engagement and encouragement, exactly like the physical face to face ones.
The focus of the message is represented by punctuation and capitalization. The person’s engagement is demonstrated by the text layout, the font style and color, and was the text gone through proofreading. Delineating words by special characters such as star or hyphen convey empathy. Body gestures can literally be replaced with emojis and emoticons. Facial expressions are conveyed by short quick or rather elaborated answers, supportive versus negative words. The commitment for a mutual interest relates to the timing of each response and the frequencies between them.
Textual signaling is becoming relevant to dealmaking communications, and it carries the potential of greater advantage in business. Having the ability to read between the lines of your prospect, gives a better notion regarding the social hierarchy of the current events, and control over it. It increases the chances of having the upper hand over the other delegate and getting the deal right where you aim it.
Let’s talk about vocal appeal. We all feel our voice is a medium with which we play our way in different interactions. The parameters composing our voices can predict the judgments of others toward us. These traits are related to acoustic features such as the intensity, pitch, frequency, harmony, and range of our voice.
People tend to ascribe voice quality to a person’s characteristics and social value. Voices with closely ranged harmony and high intensity are judged to be more attractive and benign. A breathy less pressed low voice expresses warm, relaxed, and constant essence. Low fundamental frequency implies dominance, intelligence, competence, and trustworthiness.
These abovementioned properties can be manipulated to serve the mission at stake. People are likely to alter their voices intentionally when trying to achieve power and climb their way through the social
These abovementioned properties can be manipulated to serve the mission at stake. People are likely to alter their voices intentionally when trying to achieve power and climb their way through the social hierarchy in a given state of affairs. For instance, people may adopt the opposing vocal attributes of their addressee when handling authoritative interaction, so one lowes the intensity and pace of his speech when confronting a loud and enthused interlocutor. One lowers his pitch contour and variability when delivering expert content to his addressee. Males and females will harden or soften their voice quality respectively, to emphasize their attractiveness.
Boiling it down, people modulate the nonverbal parameters of their voices to elicit appropriate social appraisals. That way they may gain social property with their business associates, and be more influential persuasive deal makers.