Drama Performance

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Performance

  • We need to be aware of our body and its various responses in order to amplify and/or represent authentic performance.

Non-verbal Communication

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  • ‘Actions Don’t Lie’
  • The reason this statement above is true, is that we have very little control over our non-verbal messages because we’re largely unaware of their existence.
  • We have all received messages, even though there were no words involved, such as a look of irritation, a smile, a sigh, or a frown.
  • Non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, use of space, use of timing, eye contact, touch etc all contribute to messages we send and impact on communication in different ways.
  • Mehrabian (1972) [as cited in Du Plooy-Cilliers & Olivier, 2004, p. 102] stated that around 7% of social meaning of a face-to-face message is conveyed through verbal channels, the other 93% is conveyed through non-verbal communication.
  • It is important to understand how we display our emotions and inner thoughts in order to know how to communicate effectively and thus how to embody effective performance style.
  • Non-verbal communication refers to the messages that people convey through their bodies, touch, vocal variations and their use of space, time and objects, and without the use of words.
  • Non-verbal communication is most important in expressing our emotions and social meaning.Verbal Communication
  • Verbal communication can be either vocal or non-vocal. A good example of vocal verbal communication occurs when we make use of the spoken word.
  • Non-verbal communication and verbal communication usually convey the actual meaning of a message together. In communication terms we therefore say that non-verbal communication conveys the relational information of a message, while the verbal communication conveys the content information (Van Heerden, Steinberg & Qakisa, 2000).
  • Verbal communication can also be non-vocal, such as reading. The written word is a form of verbal communication because words are used.
  •  Non-verbal communication can also be either vocal or non-vocal.
  •  Non-vocal non-verbal communication involves gestures and appearance, while non-verbal vocal communication focuses on vocal cues, a concept known as “paralanguage”.

Paralanguage

  • Paralanguage refers to the way in which we communicate and modify the meaning of messages by making use of pitch, rate and volume.
  • For example, if you had to answer the questions with yes, consider the vocal cues that would accompany each affirmation:

“May I borrow your pen?”

“May I borrow your car?”

“Will you marry me?”

“Did you cheat in the test?”

“Do you love me?”

“Did I embarrass you?”

“Do you have the winning lottery ticket?”

“Are you upset with me?”

  • In all the scenarios the same answer was given, but each with a varied effect. You would simply not respond in the same fashion for each question. This is an example of paralanguage.
  • When you say even the simplest word or statement, the meaning can change depending on the tone of voice you use.

Functions of non-verbal communication

Accenting

  • Is used to emphasise verbal symbols E.G hitting table to emphasise anger. Non-verbal messages that accent verbal messages are a very basic part of language behaviour, occurring naturally, without conscious thought or intent.
  • The entire meaning of a sentence often depends on the word you accent. E.g.:
  1. Eat your food, (instead of playing with it),
  2. Eat your food (instead of your brother’s food),
  3. Eat your food (instead of dessert).

Complementing

  • Occurs when non-verbal cues are used to enhance the meaning of verbal symbols. Complementing accompanies and supports speech. E.G body language (facial expressions, body posture, and tone of voice) accompanying an apology indicates sincerity.

Substituting

  • Takes place when a non-verbal symbol replaces a verbal one. E.G shrug shoulders = I don’t know. Non-verbal substituting is especially important when people are reluctant to express their feelings in words.

Contradicting

  • Occurs when the non-verbal symbols send a message that contradicts the verbal symbols. For example, we find it easier to lie verbally than non-verbally. Our non-verbal behaviour often gives us away. This is termed ‘leakage’. E.G saying yes to a request but using uncomfortable body language.

Regulating

  • Happens when non-verbal cues are used to regulate the flow of an interpersonal conversation. E.G shaking head, nodding, leaning forward to indicate interest etc.
  • In order to become a competent student of non-verbal communication, you should use what you observe very carefully rather than trying to become a mind-reader. All non-verbal communication must be studied in context.
  • Since non-verbal communication is both cultural and regional, the cultural context may have an enormous bearing on the outcome of the communicated message.
  • On this note, be very careful when you make assumptions on the grounds of a person’s non-verbal behaviour, it can be highly misleading.
  • Do not give meaning to a single non-verbal cue in isolation, always take the whole context into consideration, and make sure you consider the non-verbal cues too.
  • Examining the different elements of non-verbal communication allows for participants in the communication process to gain an understanding of how they affect and can improve the communication process.
  • We will obviously be able to communicate better and have more insight into other people’s communication if we are more aware of our own and other people’s non-verbal communication.
  • The ability to analyse other people’s non-verbal messages can help eliminate many communication problems.

Summary

  • Non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, use of space, use of timing, eye contact, touch etc all contribute to messages we send and impact on communication in different ways.
  • Non-verbal communication is most important in expressing our emotions and social meaning.
  • Verbal communication can be either vocal or non-vocal. A good example of vocal verbal communication occurs when we make use of the spoken word.
  • Verbal communication can also be non-vocal, such as reading. The written word is a form of verbal communication because words are used.
  • Non-verbal communication can also be either vocal or non-vocal.
  • Non-vocal non-verbal communication involves gestures and appearance, while non-verbal vocal communication focuses on vocal cues, a concept known as “paralanguage”.
  • Functions of non-verbal communication include: accenting, complimenting, substituting, contradicting and regulating.

Examining the different elements of non-verbal communication allows for participants in the communication process to gain an understanding of how they affect and can improve the communication process.

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