Nonverbal cues

Nonverbal cues are used in the lives of Mexicans. Mexico is a country where nonverbal cues are used to communicate with others. There are many different types of nonverbal cues to communicate with others such as facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, touch, personal space and also time. All these things and more influence a successful or unsuccessful communication. The way one looks at a person influences how the other person could react.

posture Posture The body demonstrates to people what one may be feeling. If a person is slouched in their sit then they look tired, bored, comfortable etc. There are different ways one may interpret what they are feeling. In Mexico, people do not take time for granted. They value the present time and take their time in doing their tasks. Mexicans tend to do many tasks at once, but get things accomplished taking everything smoothly.  The way that Mexicans tend to be calm about time and work is reflected in the way their posture is. Their body looks tranquil and laid back. When it comes to work, Mexicans are very hard workers. Mexicans use a lot of gestures that allows them to demonstrate with their body the meaning of what they are trying to say.  Basically, the gestures explain in detail, without saying too much, what the person is trying to say. Mexico is a country based on history and traditions, storytelling/myths are very common and gestures is more fun way of telling stories.

Eye Gaze. Eye contact is a way of nonverbal cues. Through eye contact one sends out a message and the other person decodes the message. The way that someone sees someone or something, one can decode the meaning of it in different ways. One can decode that a person is sincere, discomfort, attentive, feels awkward, trusting, etc just by the way a person uses their eyes. For example, in Mexican culture, people do not tend to look at people in the eyes for a long period of time because it is disrespectful when a person stares at another. The elderly in Mexican society are known for being wise and full of knowledge. Children are taught to refrain their sight to the elderly because it is a sign of respect and attention. If a tourist is visiting Mexico, the best thing not to do is stair at a man in the eyes for a certain period of time.  Especially if a girl has eye contact with a man, the man assumes that the girl wants to be with him. Eye contact is not only a sign of respect for elders, but it is also a sign of lust, hate, vengeance, etc.

Touch. In the Mexican culture some form of touch is taught at a very young age. Touch involves shaking someone’s hand, giving a hug or kiss, or even being intimate with another person. Touch is part of nonverbal cues. Men tend to greet other mean with a hug while patting them on the back. Since touch is a form of nonverbal cues, a hand shake, hug, and kiss on the cheek are forms equality between Mexicans. When a person does not greet another person properly (such as a kiss, hug, pat on the back, some form of touch) they are seen as snobby. Mexican society pays attention to the smallest details of nonverbal communication.

personal spacePersonal space beieve it or not, personal space has to do with nonverbal communication in Mexico. It is the presence of the body to initiate nonverbal communication. Without the body there wouldn’t be a way to see nonverbal communication through someone. In Mexico, people tend to not value personal space. Touch, posture and the body has to do with personal space. When having a conversation with someone people tend to stand closer to each other because it is a sign of importance and attentiveness to what the person istelling you.

Time Time also initiates nonverbal communication. Time has different meanings for different countries and in Mexico time is flexible. Mexicans value time as something meant to be calm, relaxing, and steady. “According to the two divisions of time that Hall proposes (either M-time or P-time), the Mexican lifestyle more closely resembles P-time or polychronic time. This approach to time explains why conversations are often interrupted; time is less of a tangible and people come before schedules.”

Ex: When a person says later, it means things are expected to be done some time in the near future, without great urgency or specific dateline in mind.

Key Concepts and Values

Communication style- communication in Mexico tends to be indirect. People try to avoid disappointing or offending the person that is listening. Non-verbal communication is used more in communicating. Being indirect helps strengthen relationships between people in business settings.

Family- Mexico is a country that is very family oriented. The society valued through the strengths of the families. Mexico is a collectivistic culture where people tend to do things as a group than individually. In businesses, family values are respected and is seen as a contribution to companies.

Understanding nonverbal communication in Mexico

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Marleny Flores


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