Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues
The first applicant for the position was more excited about getting to work for Susan’s grandmother. In addition, his confidence was visible with the way he sat back on the chair and even crossed his legs. Such body movements helped Susan and her grandmother to be comfortable around him and engage him more in the conversation. His confident body movements and authoritative tone demonstrate to Susan and her grandmother that he is capable of handling the tasks that they will assign to him.
Furthermore, the male applicant uses verbal communication excellently. He answers all the questions promptly and he gives relevant responses. He gives Susan and his grandmother detailed information about his professional background as well as where he comes from and the ideals he grew up with. He informs them of his extensive experience in the catering as well as health care industries. He also talks about the values that he upholds, which further endear him to his potential employer.
On the other hand, the second applicant’s body movements are a bit too rigid, making communication with the interviewers very difficult. She sits on a fraction of the chair and holds her bag too tightly. She does not seem relaxed and at ease with herself and the other people in the room. She also seems to lack self-confidence, which gives the interviewers a poor perception of her and her abilities as a cook and a caregiver.
Her verbal communication skills are also severely lacking. Her lack of confidence seems to be impeding her ability to express herself clearly. She does not provide any insight into her professional and personal background, which leaves her interviewers perplexed. Most of her responses are ‘Yes’, which pushes Susan to ask her if she truly understands the questions and whether she really wants the job she is applying for.
Relationship between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal and verbal communications are interconnected elements in every attempt to communicate with others. Their relationship is clear from the way they seem to work in tandem with one another. For instance, both types of communication are used in repeating. Non-verbal communication repeats the message being conveyed by verbal communication. When someone says hallo, they will naturally also wave their hands.
The two forms of communication also work in tandem when an individual wants to emphasize a particular message. Non-verbal messages can be used to emphasize the importance of the information being conveyed by the verbal communication. For instance, when speakers use gestures in a public speech, they are using non-verbal messages to emphasize their spoken message.
There are also times when non-verbal communication is used to regulate verbal conversations. For instance, maintaining eye contact during a conversation will elongate the discussion. The speaker will be encouraged by the attention the respondent is giving him and he will explain his message even more clearly making the conversation longer.
In some instances, non-verbal communication can contradict, compliment, substitute verbal communication. Non-verbal communication complements verbal communication when it adds new information to the verbal message without contradicting it. It contradicts the verbal message when the body language is opposite of the message being conveyed. Contradiction usually occurs when an individual is attempting to be socially appropriate. There are also situations whereby people will use non-verbal communication instead of verbal. When this occurs, non-verbal communication is substituting verbal communication.
The people in the video could communicate more effectively if they understood each other’s cultures better. For instance, most Korean middle-aged women are quiet and stern. Their responses are also quite short and they will provide the bare minimum information to others. This is probably the reason that the Korean applicant answers Susan’s questions with short responses and does not divulge too much about her personal or professional background. If Susan and her grandmother understood the Korean culture then they would not assume that she was not excited about the job. They would have used other means to identify how hardworking she is as well as test her culinary skills.
This is where intercultural communication comes in. Intercultural communication can be defined as specific communication between individuals or groups of people who come from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Improving their intercultural communication skills will guarantee that effective communication between all the parties concerned takes place.
To improve the communication between the parties in the video, cultural differences need to be appreciated. It is essential that the interviewers and the interviewees adopt the tenets of intercultural communicative competence. This competence refers to the capability of understanding cultures and using this knowledge to communicate with people from different cultures successfully, effectively, and appropriately.
According to Rathje (2007), there are four distinct requirements of intercultural communication competence. The requirements include knowledge, self-confidence, empathy, and cultural identity. Knowledge refers to having sufficient information about different cultures as well as how people from different cultures behave. Cultural identity is about having an in-depth knowledge of one’s own culture. Empathy is considering and understanding the feelings, desires, and needs of other people while self-confidence is having a thorough understanding of one’s own limitations, strengths, desires, and emotional stability.
In this situation, the only way effective communication can take place is if Susan and her grandmother gain sufficient knowledge of the applicants’ cultures. Once they understand how different people in different cultures behave then they would be able to assess the applicants better. They would also develop empathy for the applicants, which will further enhance the communication process.
Rathje, S. (2007). Intercultural competence: the status and future of a controversial concept. Journal for Language and Intercultural Communication, 7(4): 254-266.