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Guiding Ethical Principles of Interpersonal Communication

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In this paper, I will give a few bullets on the guiding ethical principles of interpersonal communications and my insights about the specific learning topic I chose; nonverbal communication.

Ethics is defined as a branch of philosophy that focuses on moral principles and code of conduct. These issues concern what is right and what is wrong. There are always ethical implications when dealing with interpersonal communication because of the irreversible nature of it. The governing principles are the right and wrong aspects and the relevant moral and immoral dimensions of it. One part of the ethics of interpersonal communications is maintaining the correct balance between the speaking and listening phases of it.

Everyone also needs to be aware that nonverbal communication can trigger and express prejudice and discrimination therefore also having ethical aspects. Some of these considerations can involve nonverbal behaviors that could ridicule, derogate, or demean others. Nonverbal communication is an extremely important component of communication. It helps one to interpret and understand verbal messages in everyday life and how something is expressed can carry more weight than what is said.

Nonverbal communication is described as communication without words. In order to understand meanings of the nonverbal behavior, one must consider the entire context such as culture, background knowledge, gender, and relationship type. Nonverbal communication occurs through seven nonlinguistic means: kinesics (body movements), paralinguistics (vocal qualities), haptics (touch), appearance, proxemics (physical space), physical environment, and chronemics (time).

Kinesics involves body orientation, posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Body orientation is the degree to which one faces toward or away from another with our body, feet, and head. The book uses the example of a person who is not happy about seeing another, but instead of saying something and being rude, they turn their body slightly away from the newcomer. They are showing their disapproval without voicing it. Posture is a person's bodily stance and may be the least ambiguous type of nonverbal behavior. Some of these postures are angle of head, jaw thrust, slouching, cringing, and general tightness of the body. Gestures are movements of the hands and arms and are basic to our nature. There are three forms of gestures, they are: illustrators which are movements that accompany speech but don't stand on their own; emblems which are deliberate nonverbal behaviors that have a precise meaning, known to virtually everyone within a culture; adaptors which are unconscious bodily movements in response to the environment; and manipulators which are usually a sign of discomfort. Some examples of these are: clenching fist, pointing, raising and eyebrow, sticking out your tongue, biting nails, and waving. Facial expressions usually reveal the feelings that a person is not intending to communicate or are not even aware of doing. The following are examples of revealing facial expressions: pouting, sleepy, startle, confused, and amused. Eye contact can modify the meaning of nonverbal behavior. In America, looking away from a person while speaking to them can be misinterpreted as avoidance or deviousness, yet in some other cultures, children are taught to minimize eye contact lest they be perceived as uppity or arrogant.

Paralanguage (paralinguistics) is a nonverbal, verbal message. A word or words



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