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Nonverbal communication between people is communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. There are not many differences in nonverbal communication styles in American and Polish culture.
In both, the U.S.A. and Poland we agree that eye contact is one of the most important element of non-verbal communication, which has a huge impact on the quality of the conversation. Improper use of eye contact and, worse, its avoidance can lead to many misunderstandings and misinterpretations of intentions. It is important to keep the balance though. The avoidance of eye contact is a very bad idea. You must be aware of the fact that such behavior makes you perceived in the eyes of the interlocutor as shy, insecure or worse, insincere and unconvincing. On the other hand if someone is staring at the speaker without interruption for a long period of time, this may mean aggression or stubbornness.
Your personal space is invisible, but you know exactly where it ends. It stretches around the body and we don’t like when it is violated. The distance at which you let yourself get closer can depend on your position, cultural patterns and intimacy. The social zone is in the range from four to twelve feet apart. When shopping, waiting at the bus stop, or even while walking a dog, we use the social zone. The public zone is a distance in which the sender’s distance from the recipient should be at least 12 feet. Politicians, actors and celebrities in public speeches very often use the public zone. The intimate zone is within touching distance to up to 2 feet.
Both in Poland and America based on the body language like postures and gestures one can guess the real intentions of the interlocutor. When we enter a room full of people we don’t realize they judge us before we start talking. The appearance, speed and movement are of key importance. A determined, confident step is a sign of self-confidence. It is also important where we sit. When we are in the center, it gives us, in a way, a leader position, and an upright attitude means that we have nothing to hide and we are not afraid. Our thoughts also betray hands. Rubbing them is a sign that we do not feel comfortable and crossing arms is a defensive gesture.
The way we look influences others. Through our appearance we can communicate our social status, which group we belong to, or even what mood we have at the moment. This is not a rule but people often judge by appearance. The main determinant of our appearance is the style that gives a tone to our image. American people like more casual style. In Poland people believe the way they look at work is almost as important as their competencies so they dress very nicely to work or to a party, as they realize that other people will judge them and they should present themselves accordingly.
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