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Semiotics of Nonverbal Communication

This is a brief description of semiotics and how it can help you understand the nonverbal communication elements involved in any interaction. Enjoy!

Jeff Thompson

on 30 January 2013

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Transcript of Semiotics of Nonverbal Communication

Of Nonverbal
Communication What It Means &
Why You Need To Know What is Semiotics?

The study of signs There are 3 elements
of semiotics:
Pragmatics This is the understanding of the
meaning of nonverbal communication

Examples include:
Pointing your finger at someone
Rolling your eyes
Saying "uh huh"
Leaning back in your chair
Resting your head in your hand
Yawning Semantics The study of understanding
the meaning of signs Syntactics The study of the structure of signs This refers to the structure and ordering of
nonverbal cues and elements.

Examples include:
Pointing (how you point is the "structure") after telling someone where to go
Nodding your head while stating you are in agreement
Leaning forward, then saying "mmm" to show you are listening
Shaking someone's hand when meeting them Pragmatics The study of the Signs based on the
contribution of context This is dependent on the encoder and the decoder. This is "what to do,"
"how to do it," and "when to do it."

Examples include, when trying to develop rapport:
Eye gaze
leaning forward
body oriented towards the person
Open gestures Why Semiotics? Combining semiotics with nonverbal
communication allows you to fully
understand all the elements involved in an
interaction while:

Being aware of the meaning of the cues
Their relation to other cues, and
What it means to those involved Examples of Use: Semantic:
Finger pointing gesture
(What are possible meanings?)

What else is being done nonverbally
and verbally.

Identify why the gesture is being used Now consider these: Think of the 3 branches- semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics-
of semiotics when looking at the nonverbal cue of pointing. Did you notice the difference of each picture, yet in each President Obama was pointing his finger? Semiotics + Nonverbal Communication + (practice and research) = - Thank you - Jeff Thompson
School of Law
PhD Candidate
-Professional Mediator- Jeff.Thompson@GriffithUni.edu.au twitter: @NonverbalPhD Now consider these slight alternatives to finger pointing... Understanding nonverbal communication and
being a more effective communicator
Full transcript