By Shinn Krammer
This blog post is from a series of blog posts to come that revolve around the observations and studies of communication in COM502 by Shinn Krammer. In this post, I look into body language and the different ways people consciously/subconsciously use body language to assist in communicating. These observations are based on the topics learned in the COM502 course and the “Communication, Organisation and Innovation” textbook.
I currently work as a part-time barista and customer service representative. For my observation subject, I will use my boss who is very experienced in general customer service, retail and sales. Observing the subject’s interactions and posture while serving customers I noted the following:
– Upright Posture
– Eye Contact
– Happy Expression
– Hands Visible
By my observation, I can determine that the subject is portraying themselves in these manners to communicate with a customer non-verbally.
Looking at the subject’s upright posture and their body being forward-facing I understand that they are showing attention with open and neutral emotion. This observation is backed up by evidence from the Communication: Organisation and Innovation (Barnett, S. & O’Rouke, S., 2011, p117) textbook where it explains how posture non verbally says things about how a person feels and their openness and trust to the other party.
Another thing to point out is eye contact. This shows that the subject is paying attention and is engaging in a non-verbal connection. With a happy expression, the subject is showing that they are trusting the other party and are creating an approachable environment for a sale.
The subject’s hands being visible is also very important for approachability. Having their hands visible is a non-verbal message of transparency. However, in their sales, they have their palms facing downwards. In our first COM502 lecture we watched a ted talk on the importance of hand posture called Body language, the power is in the palm of your hands by Allan Pease. In his talk, he shows 3 ways of using hand movement and posture in conversation. Palms up showing submission and openness, palms down showing dominance and refusion, and clenched fist/point for dictation, direction, and assertiveness. From this, we can determine that the subject is showing transparency but is not open for negotiations.
Once payment is ready to go through, I noticed that their hands are taken off the counter and their open hand with their palm upward guides them to the EFTPOS machine or are rest upwards to accept cash. If a customer starts paying via EFTPOS the subject takes a step back. I believe this creates an environment where it helps seem that the customer is now in control.
I spent my Monday lunch break sitting in the cafeteria with a good friend chatting but also observing other people for this post. I found that certain seating arrangements existed for people sitting together with different intensity in conversation. Two people sitting directly opposite from each other usually seemed that there were some serious topics at hand. Sitting side by side meant a very social happier conversation was occurring. Groups tended to gather around a table evenly so that all members were welcome into a conversation.
These were some very basic observations made in the past week. I have come to better understanding of the importance of non-verbal communication and its use in the workplace through these observations. I wish to go into further into understanding non- verbal communication in detail through the COM502 course and how non-verbal communication helps within an IT workplace.
Barnett, S. & O’Rouke S. (2011). Communication: Organisation and Innovation. Pearsoned.
Body language, the power is in the palm of your hands, Allan Pease, TEDxMacquarieUniversity. (2013, November 17). TEDx Talks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZZ7k8cMA-4&feature=emb_title