Essay Sample Describing Gender Perception in Non-Verbal Communication

Published: 2022-06-10
Essay Sample Describing Gender Perception in Non-Verbal Communication
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Gender Interpersonal communication
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1135 words
10 min read

I observed a small group of five people made of three females and two males discussing something that got them so attentive that an observer could imagine they have forgotten all about the rest of the world. I did this for a total of 20 minutes to give me enough time to observe all the nonverbal communication that was going on in the group. Considering it was a group of teenagers aged between 19 and 22, they all had an almost similar dress code. All except one girl had pants while the one girl had a dress (Mayo & Henley 2012). The boys were wearing blue jeans with a black t-shirt and a blue one while the two girls had on white and pink tank tops.

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I think they were discussing something related to music because they all had a headphone with them. From the body posture and body movements, it was apparent that they did not have the same opinion regarding the topic. One girl, however, kept her arms folded in front of her body most of the time with a tense facial expression. From her body posture, I could tell that she was unhappy about one of her friend's comment or views regarding her side of the argument (Frank et al., 2013). Other than that, the group members constantly maintained eye contact whenever talking to the others showing how engaged they were and sincere about their opinions.

When teenagers are discussing something as wide-ranging as music, they are prone to get into heated arguments. When this happens, an observer can deduce the nonverbal signals that will help them relatively explain what is happening. Girls in the group I was observing would roll their eyes at times. From this, I could tell that they thought the other person was wrong or did not take the other person's point as seriously (Matsumoto et al., 2013). This also showed that one could be tired or uninterested in the topics and therefore there is a need for the group to either talk about something else or make it more interesting.

When it comes to nonverbal communication, the gender aspect comes in picture. This is because there are some gestures that one will observe in the female that are very different when observed in the male. According to some studies, the matter of which gender usually uses gestures more is not fully determined. However, it has been observed and proven that the gestures vary from one gender to the other. When compared to men, the gestures made by women usually take up less space and vice versa. According to research, for a man to use small gestures, he may be regarded by other men as being less powerful. Again from research, in a business or social interaction, the man is most likely to first initiate touch than the woman. Contrary, when a woman is the first to initiate touch regardless of her intentions, others may interpret it as a sexual move (Mayo & Henley, 2012). In my group of observation, I only noticed once a pair making body contact in a way that made me conclude that the two could probably be more than just friends. For the rest of the group, they all kept it formal and any touching only happened between same genders apart from the pair.

Throughout the process of communication, there might be times when one person uses nonverbal communication to mean one thing but to the observer that same nonverbal cue might mean something entirely different. For instance, a boy kept shaking his head up and down while talking whenever he seemed to have a conflict of interest with the rest of the group. At first, I thought him shaking his head in that manner meant that he agreed. However from what I kept observing, what the cue meant was the opposite. He was disagreeing and saying no. This can cause inconsistencies in a person's verbal communication and others might interpret it wrongly if not careful (Seel, 2017). This is one of the reasons misunderstandings arise in a conversation, not because of a conflict of interest but because nonverbal communication is not consistent between two people.

Being an onlooker with the intention of only observing a group from a distant while interpreting the nonverbal communication going on can be quite challenging. It requires one's undivided attention and careful observation. The thing I found most challenging about interpreting was that one of the boys tended to speak too fast. To me, it seemed as if the rest of the group was trying to catch up with him and at times some seemed like he had lost them. The problem was that I could not quite tell exactly when he was upset, displeased or in agreement with the rest. From the way he talked, it was different to keep up because he used too many gestures mixed with different facial expressions all at the same time (Seel, 2018). His tone remained consistent, and this made it even harder.

From this assignment, I gained more knowledge regarding nonverbal communication and gender perception regarding the same thing. Not every gesture is consistent with all genders; there are some gestures associated with women and others related to the men. In a social situation where one gender uses the other gender's gestures, there might be wrong interpretations from others. Some people interpret nonverbal communication differently than others. What someone could interpret as no could mean the complete opposite of another person. It is therefore imperative that we ensure in every communication situation we are in a position to fully understand and well interpret the nonverbal communication happening. It is usually an essential part of the communication process as the verbal one. You can tell exactly how a person feels about something they have said or heard from observing heir nonverbal communication. There are times when we get the wrong meaning, but that should be a reason to ask the other person to clarify things to avoid any misunderstandings and wrong interpretation of messages.

Body language Gestures Tone Facial expressions
F Biting nails Hands folded in front of her Inquisitive Tensed
M Hands on his sides Passes his hand in hair severally Too fast and consistent volume Relaxed
F Hands on her laps relaxed Silent Maintaining eye contact
M One leg on top of the other relaxed Doubtful One eye raised
F Leaning towards the chair Neck tilted to the left Controlled


In Seel, O. I. (2018). Redefining translation and interpretation in cultural evolution. Hershey, PA.

Mayo, C., & Henley, N. (2012). Gender and Nonverbal Behavior. New York, NY: Springer New York.

Matsumoto, D. R., Frank, M. G., & Hwang, H. S. (2013). Nonverbal communication: Science and applications. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Maude, B. (2016). Managing cross-cultural communication: Principles and practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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