Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts


  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    Example and Directions
    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen
    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    Predictability In a relationship, preference for significant planning, few surprises, and a recurring pattern of activity; in contrast to novelty.
    Privacy In a relationship, the need to keep some thoughts and emotions to oneself. In contrast to openness.
    Provisionalism Assuming a speaker needs to plan how best to communicate a specific message to a specific person or to a specific audience. Knowing messages must be adapted to different individuals and audiences.
    Relationship tensions Challenges of not sacrificing individuality for the relationship and, conversely, not sacrificing the relationship for individual needs; see also dialectics.
    Abdicator Negative task group role: the passive-aggressive member of a group. See passive-aggressive disclosure style.
    Abstract To create mental images and symbols of the external world.
    Abstract words Language constructs; concepts that exist only in thought and language, and not as physical objects or sensations.
    Acceptance The need for reference groups and individuals to acknowledge and affirm our traits as valid.
    Accommodating A conflict management method in which we let the other person have their way, regardless of what we want.
    Action conflict Disagreement over what to do, what action to take. See also value conflict and belief conflict.
    Activity In chronemics, our perception of what occurs at what time of day, and how much should occur in a given time frame.
    Actuation To persuade the audience to engage in a specific behavior.
    Acquaintance A person who is known only within a particular context, and with whom disclosure is limited to context-specific topics.
    Adaptors Nonverbal behaviors used to satisfy a personal need, and not intended to communicate with others.
    Advising A negative listening response: giving unrequested or unneeded advice to a speaker.
    Affect displays Nonverbal behaviors communicating the affection level of the relationship.
    Affection A message indicating a degree of liking for the person; can range from extreme dislike to extreme liking.
    Aggressive disclosure style An emotional style of disclosure which may include yelling, insulting, crying, or other emotional outbursts.
    Aggressor Negative task group role: uses aggressive behaviors to control the group, dictating the outcome. See aggressive disclosure style.
    Analyzing As a negative listening response, trying to explain to the speaker, often using pyschobabble, why something happened.
    Analyzer Positive task group role: the critical thinker in a group.
    Appreciative listening Listening for enjoyment (music, television, poetry, etc.)
    Articulation Our ability to form the sounds of the language using our articulators. See also ennunciation.
    Articulators Structures of the mouth: lips, tongue, teeth, hard palate, soft palate.
    Artifacts The items we use to decorate our bodies, e.g., hair styles, makeup, clothing, jewelry, tattoos, etc.
    Assertive disclosure style A disclosure style marked by mutual respect and facework.
    Assumed similarity/dissimilarity When first meeting people, we make assumptions as to how alike or different we are.
    Attending The act of focusing on a speaker using attending behaviors.
    Attending behaviors the actions we use to focus on the message. See theSOLER model)
    Attitudes In public speaking, the judgement an audience holds regarding a topic.
    Attractiveness of purpose The degree to which group members, individually and collectively, like the task.
    Audience analysis Gathering information and making inferences to understand the audience to whom the speech is targeted.
    Audience interest The degree to which the speaker determines the audience is interested/will be interested in the topic.
    Aural Communication Listening.
    Autocratic leader One who acts on behalf of the group without seeking approval from the group.
    Autonomy In a relationship, a need for individual identity and independence. In contrast to connection.
    Belief conflict Conflict about what is true or false, exists or does not exist. See also value conflict and action conflict.
    Beliefs What we hold to be true or false.
    Belongingness Our need to feel we fit in and belong to a group of some sort.
    Blaming As a negative listening response, shifting the blame to a third party, and away from the speaker.
    Body movement In public speaking, unless forced to stay at a microphone, good speakers will move in non-distracting ways to offer the audience visual variety and to project confidence.
    Boundary markers Explicit or implicit elements identifying the edges of territory.
    Breadth of disclosure The number of topics considered acceptable in a given relationship. See also depth of disclosure.
    Casual friend People who enjoy each other's company and who share a modest level of personal disclosure; less disclosure than a close friend.
    Cause/effect A speech organizational pattern: identify factors triggering a subsequent event; or identify an event then assert triggering factors.
    Central markers Items placed in the space to let others know we claim the space as our own.
    Channel The physical means of transmission to actually deliver the symbols from one transactor to another.
    Chronemics Our perception and use of time.
    Chronological A speech organizational pattern: arranging according to time order.
    Citation In a speech, verbally stating the source of a fact, statistic, or testimony. Giving credit to sources used in the speech.
    Close friend Similar to a casual friend, except with more depth and breadth of disclosure.
    Closure Our psychological drive to fill in missing data to acheive a sense of wholeness.
    Co-cultures An identifiable group with their own unique traits operating within the larger culture.
    Codeswitching Altering language use and behavior as a person moves between co-cultures or between a co-culture and the dominant culture.
    Coercive power Using physical and/or psychological threats to get one's way.
    Cohesiveness In task groups, a feeling of connection; a feeling of accountability and obligation to each other.
    Collaborating A conflict management method in which both parties work jointly to find a mutual decision with which both are comfortable.
    Colleague A work-based friendship that is heavily context-bound.
    Collectivistic cultures A preference for a tightly-knit framework in society in which individuals can expect their relatives or members of a particular in-group to look after them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.
    Colloquialism The collection of sayings and other non-standard types of language usually associated with a region of the country
    Common denominators In audience analysis, the core similarities shared by audience members that the speaker targets in adapting a speech.
    Communication How we use oral communication (speaking) and aural communication (listening) to interact with those around us, to build relationships, to satisfy our own personal needs, to exchange information, to persuade others, and to work collaboratively in groups.
    Communication Package The collection of all variables we use, verbal and nonverbal, that have communication value.
    Compromising A conflict management method in which both parties accept less to reach an minimally acceptable decision.
    Computer-mediated communication Communication occurring through the use of computer technologies.
    Concrete words Words referring to actual items, events, people.
    Confirmation bias Our tendency to emphasize and attend to evidence that supports conclusions we favor, and conversely our tendency to minimize and ignore evidence that is contrary to our desired perceptions.
    Conflict Different ways of viewing the same event or idea.
    Connection In a relationship, the degree of need to feel linked with the other person. In contrast to autonomy.
    Connotation The implied judgment of the word; the evaluative tone associated with the word. In contrast to denotation.
    Connotative Semantic Noise An emotional reaction to a word or phrase that interferes with clear communication. See emotional triggers.
    Consensus A decision in which all members have a part in shaping and all find acceptable as a means of accomplishing some mutual goal.
    Content dimension The obvious topic, or the noticeable, overt topic being addressed in the conversation. In contrast to the Relationship dimension.
    Context The environment of the communication. See social/physical context, relational context, historical context, and cultural context.
    Context appropriateness Determining what and how much to disclose depending on the environment in which the interaction is occurring.
    Context-bound A relationship which exists only within a specific context; see colleagues.
    Coordinate In a speech, information points of relatively equal importance.
    CRAAP Criteria for evaluating the quality of a source: Currency = the timeliness of the information; Relevance = the importance of the information for the speech; Authority = the source of the information; Accuracy = the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content; Purpose = the reason the information exists.
    Credibility The audience's perception of the speaker's competence and believability.
    Credibility transfer In public speaking, when using a credible source, the credibility attributed to the source will transfer to the speaker.
    Criteria Standards by which we measure something.
    Critical listening Active listening to determine the truth, validity, accuracy, or usefulness of information.
    Cultural context The cultural variables influencing the interpretation process.
    Culture “A learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, norms, and social practices which affect the behaviors of a relatively large group of people” (Lustig, 2010).
    Culture shock The discomfort felt when interacting in a new environment with few familiar cues to guide our communication behaviors.
    Decode Attaching meaning to symbols.
    Defensiveness Putting up a protective barrier to any incoming message, determined to repel, divert, or combat it in order to protect a personal sense of value and worth.
    Delivery A canon of rhetoric: the presentation of the content of a speech using verbal and nonverbal communication components.
    Democratic leader Promotes the interests of group members and practices social equality.
    Demonstration speech A classic "how to" speech, usually arranged in a chronological pattern.
    Denotation The dictionary definition of a word; the commonly accepted definition of a specific term. In contrast to connotation.
    Denotative semantic noise When we hear or see symbols we do not understand and to which we cannot attach meaning.
    Depth of disclosure The level of intimacy or the personal nature of the disclosure. See also breadth of disclosure.
    Dialectics Tension within relationships from balancing individual needs/wants with relationship needs/wants. See also relationship tensions.
    Dichotic messages When we encounter multiple messages competing for our attention.
    Disclosure/Self-disclosure Revealing previously unknown information about ourself to another.
    Disclosure style Our default disclosure style: passive, aggressive, assertive, passive-aggressive
    Descriptive statistics Numbers describing what was true at a given moment in time. Contrast to inferential statistics.
    Disfluencies Words or sounds that interrupt the smooth flow of the symbols.
    Disposition A canon of rhetoric: arranging the speech content in an effective order.
    Distributed leadership Instead of one person acting as the leader, leadership tasks are shared by all group members.
    Double-bind messages When nonverbal and verbal variables convey opposing messages.
    Dyad Two people interacting.
    Ear markers Labels we use to identify our territory.
    Echo chamber A virtual space in which we receive only information which confirms positions and beliefs we prefer. See also confirmation bias.
    Egocentric Assuming others think as we do, use language as we do, and see the world as we do.
    Ego conflict Assuming all comments, opinions, or ideas are personal attacks and reacting defensively.
    Emblems Nonverbal behaviors that can be used in place of verbal communcation.
    Emergence The spontaneous taking on of recurring behaviors or actions to fulfill group needs.
    Emotional triggers Words or phrases so troublesome as to significantly interfere with clear communication. See connotative semantic noise.
    Empathic listening Listening for the emotional content of the message and responding appropriately.
    Empathic resonance Demonstrating understanding of a situation through disclosure of personal experience related to the speaker's concerns.
    Encode Selecting the verbal and nonverbal symbols to send to the other person.
    Energizer Postive task group role: a person who can keep the group commitment level high, motivating the group make progress.
    Ennunciation The clarity of articulation.
    Epistemology The study of how we know what we know.
    Ethics A set of behavioral standards to which we hold ourselves and others accountable
    Ethnicity Traits associated with one's country of birth.
    Ethnocentrism Assuming our culture is superior to or more important than all other cultures.
    Ethnorelativism Accepting the value of other cultural perspectives.
    Ethos Persuading another based on the character of the speaker. See also logos and pathos.
    Euphemism A socially acceptable term or phrased used to refer to a taboo subject.
    Evaluating In listening, making judgments about what we have heard.
    Expediter Positive task group role: the person who helps urge the group forward in completing the task.
    Expert power The influence we ascribe to people we think know more about a specific topic that we do.
    Expert testimony A quotation or paraphrase from a person deemed to be an expert on a given topic.
    Explanation speech Presentations drawing from multiple sources, designed to generally enlighten the audience about a given topic.
    Extemporaneous speaking Speaking from limited notes, but well prepared and practiced.
    External evidence Experiences, information, and opinions from someone other than the speaker. See also internal evidence.
    External physical noise Anything outside the body of a transactor interfering with clear communication.
    External standards Standards that are thrust upon us by societal forces, such as family, friends, and media. See also fallacy of oughts and musterbation.
    Eye contact (1) As part of SOLER, the use of typical visual contact to demonstrate attention and interest. (2) As part of public speaking, scanning the room to make regular eye contact demonstrates confidence and enhances the connection to the audience.
    Face Our sense of our reputation or self-worth.
    Facial expressions In public speaking, using natural facial expressiveness to enhance the message, communicate the emotional tone of the speech, and to demonstrate confidence.
    Facework Interaction aimed at protecting the other’s sense of reputation or self-worth.
    Fallacy of oughts The mistaken belief that we must satisfy everything we ought to be, ought to do, ought to buy. See also musterbation and external standards.
    Feedback (1) In communication theory, a reaction to the primary message. (2) In self-perception, reactions from others that we use to check and validate our self-appraisal
    Feedforward A message sent before the primary message to establish a context for interpretation.
    Feminine communication style focuses on interdependence and relationships. See rapport style of communication.
    Feminine cultures Traditionally seen as more nurturing and caring; the culture is far more structured to provide aid and support to citizens, focusing their energies on providing a reasonable quality of life for all.
    Field of experience Eeverything about a person or the total accumulation of all their knowledge, experience, values, interests, beliefs, and personality.
    Figure-ground relationship As our focus on the object (the figure) and the background (the surroundings) change, interpretation changes.
    Forcing Using coercive power to make another do as we wish.
    Friendly audience An audience who largely agrees with the speaker's position, but not completely.
    Gatekeeper Positive task group role: a person who invites participation in the group.
    Gender The behaviors and traits expected of males and females as developed within a specific culture.
    General speech purpose The overall intent of the speech: to explain, to persuade, to entertain.
    Gestalt theory How we interpret stimuli is a complex process blending external stimuli with internal processes.
    Gestures In public speaking, using normal hand movements to enhance the message and to demonstrate confidence.
    Glossophobia The irrational fear of public speaking, far beyond normal speech anxiety.
    Grouping Assigning similar traits and characteristics to items that are grouped together.
    Group norms Expectations members learn to have of each other, developed through interaction and rarely openly discussed.
    Groupthink The tendency of group members to begin to think alike, weakening the group's ability to effectively identify and evaluate alternatives.
    Gunny sacking When a person suddenly vents pent up anger and frustrations, often including issues from the past.
    Halo effect An assumption that traits tend to cluster; traits “naturally” appear in groups. A type of implicit personality theory.
    Haptics Nonverbal communication using touch.
    Harmonizer Positive task group role: the person who is able to help the group manage conflict.
    Hearing Focusing on and perceiving aural stimuli.
    High-context cultures In communication, nonverbal communication is as important, if not more important, than verbal communication; implied messages are as important as overt messages.
    High-power distance cultures Members accept some people inherently have more power and some people inherently have less power, and that this power distribution is natural and normal. In contrast to low-power distance cultures.
    High-uncertainty avoidance cultures Pplace a very high value on history, doing things as they have been done in the past, and honoring stable cultural norms.
    Historical context The dynamics, expectations, and communication patterns developed in the life of a relationship.
    Hostile audience An audience who opposes a speaker's position.
    Humanists Believed language and art could reveal the inner world of the human experience.
    Humor In public speaking, using funny stories or comments to gain an audience's attention.
    HURIER model The acronym for the model of listening which includes Hearing, Understanding, Remembering, Interpreting, Evaluating, and Responding.
    Idea person Positive task group role: a person able to come up with options and ideas to help move the group forward; a creative thinker.
    Ideal group size The ideal size for a small task group is five.
    Illustrators Nonverbal behaviors that accompany and accent the verbal messages.
    Immediacy A state in which the audience feels the speaker is focused on their specific needs, values, or interests at that moment; a strong connection of speaker and audience.
    Impersonal relationship One in which the participants interact only about superficial, necessary topics.
    Implicit personality theories Our tendency to group traits to simplify perception. See halo effect and stereotyping.
    Impression management An attempt to influence how others perceive us.
    Impromptu speaking Speaking with little or no preparation when the speaker was unaware that he/she would be speaking.
    Inappropriate responding In listening, a reaction to the speaker's message that creates additional problems or diverts attention from the issue at hand.
    Incongruity A negative listening response: a verbal message in which nonverbal factors contradict a caring message.
    Individualistic cultures A preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate families only.
    Indulgence Allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun; comfortable with individuals acting on their more basic human drives
    Inferential statistics Numerical data used to predict what may happen in the future. Constrast to descriptive statistics.
    Information/Opinion giver Positive task group role: a person who brings in the content and substance the group needs in order to work.
    Information/Opinion seeker Positive task group role: a person able to see where information is lacking and to point out what type of information is needed.
    Informative speech audience For informative speaking, it is vital the speaker attempts to determine the audience's existing knowledge level on the topic so as to know where to enter and exit the topic.
    Intentional Messages that are sent deliberately and purposefully.
    Internal evidence Our own personal experiences, knowledge, and opinions.
    Internal noise Anything going on inside the body of the transactor which causes a distraction. See internal physical noise and internal psyhological noise.
    Internal physical noise Anything physical inside the body interfering with the transactor’s ability to interact effectively.
    Internal psychological noise Moods, attitudes, biases, or daydreaming that distract the speaker.
    Internal standards Standards we have decided are right and reasonable for us individually.
    Interpersonal communication "The complex process through which people produce, interpret, and coordinate messages to create shared meanings, achieve social goals, manage their personal identities, and carry out their relationships" (Verderber, 2016)
    Interpersonal needs The needs for belongingness and acceptance.
    Interpretation In listening, our ability to take the message we have decoded, consider the whole communication package of nonverbal and verbal, and look deeper at what was meant and what underlying messages may be involved.
    Interpretation stage In perception, where we make sense of what we have experienced; we determine what it means to us.
    Interrogating A negative listening response: asking a series of judgemental questions of the speaker, assuming the speaker is at fault.
    Interrupting A negative listening response: not letting the speaker finish their thought before jumping to finish their sentence for them.
    Intimacy A relationship consisting of very deep and broad disclosure.
    Intimate zone A proxemic zone ranging from touching to about 18" in North America.
    Intrapersonal persuasion Persuasion within ourselves; engaging in self-talk to influence our own beliefs, values, or actions.
    Invention A canon of rhetoric: compiling the content of the speech.
    Jargon The specialized language of a field or interest.
    Joker Negative task group role: a person who over-uses humor to get attention and inhibit group work.
    Judging A negative listening response: Evaluating a speaker's actions, thoughts, or feelings in a manner assuming the speaker is at fault for the issue at hand.
    Kinesics The use of body language to communicate, e.g., facial expression, hand gestures, posture, etc.
    Laissez-faire leader To let things take their own course. The laissez-faire leader does nothing without being explicitly directed to do so by the group.
    Language A set of shapes or sounds with which we have learned to associate various meanings.
    Language construct An idea or thought we have only because of our use of language.
    Lay testimony Quotations or paraphrases from a non-expert, non-celebrity; from the "person on the street."
    Lean As part of SOLER, demonstrating interest and focus by leaning toward the source (speaker) of the message.
    Legitimate power The ability to influence we ascribe to people based on power given by an institution, social structure, or governmental entity.
    Logical idea development pathway The order of presentation that will be most effective with the audience in leading them to an understanding of the material.
    Logos Using argument and logical reasoning to persuade. See also ethos and pathos.
    Long-term orientation Significant emphasis is placed on planning for the future. In constrast to a short-term orientation.
    Low-context cultures A culture in which blatant, direct communication is highly valued; verbal communication is given primary attention, and nonverbal communication is considered secondary.
    Low-power distance cultures Distribution of power among members is considered far more arbitrary and subject to change, and viewed as a result of luck, money, heritage, or other external variables. In contrast to high-power distance cultures.
    Low-uncertainty avoidance cultures Cultures in which change is seen as inevitable, normal, and even preferable to stasis.
    Main points The major subdivisions of the thesis.
    Manner of dislosure see Disclosure style
    Manuscript speaking Speaking from a verbatim script.
    Masculine cultures Traditionally seen as more aggressive and domineering; a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material reward for success.
    Masculine communication style Focuses on independence and autonomy; values report-talk.
    Memorization A canon of rhetoric: knowing the presentation and content thoroughly.
    Memorized speaking Committing a manuscript to memory.
    Mental rehearsing A negative listening response: focusing only on formulating a impressive reply versus fully listening to the speaker's message.
    Message The meaning intended by the source.
    Meta-communication Communicating about the quality of interaction and the quality of communication itself.
    Meta-concept We monitor how others respond to us and use those clues to create an image of how we believe they are perceiving us.
    Meta-conflict A disagreement over how the conflict is being addressed.
    Method of residues In a task group, taking on a task or role after all others have declined, either covertly or overtly.
    Minimizing A negative listening response: a response that discounts the importance of the emotions expressed by a speaker.
    Minutes Organized notes from a meeting.
    Modes of proof The core methods of persuasion as identified by Aristotle: ethos, pathos, and logos.
    Monochronic cultures A culture in which time is viewed as linear, as a sequential set of finite time units; punctuality and adhereing to schedules are highly valued. In contrast to polychronic cultures.
    Monopolizer Negative task group role: dominates the group by doing all the work as they think it should be done.
    Musterbating The act of attempting to meet external standards. See also fallacy of oughts.
    Mutual responsibility In the communication process, all participants have some responsibility for the success or failure of the communication.
    Narratives In public speaking, an extended story related to the topic.
    Neutral audience An audience with no pre-existing attitude on the speaker's topic.
    Noise Anything interfering with clear communication. See semantic noise, internal noise, and external noise.
    Nonverbal communication All communication variables other than words: body language, vocal traits, and dress; any non-linguistic variable with communication value.
    Novelty Favoring more spontaneity and "spur of the moment" decisions in a relationship. In contrast to predictability.
    Numerical terms In a speech, using numbers as transitions, e.g., "first," "second," "third."
    Obfuscation The deliberate use of complex language to create confusion.
    Occasion appropriateness Selecting a speech topic that is consistent with the purpose of the gathering.
    Open As part of SOLER, body posture which is considered open and inviting (head forward, arms at sides, etc.).
    Openness In a relationship, a desire to share personal thoughts and feelings. In contrast to privacy.
    Oral communication Speaking.
    Organization The process of putting stimuli into a pattern we can recognize.
    Other-concept Our perception of another person.
    Paralanguage Refers to vocal characteristics. In public speaking, the vocal traits used to emphasize points, provide variety, and enhance a natural style of delivery.
    Paraphrasing When a listener restates to the speaker, in their own words, what a speaker said.
    Parallel structure In a speech, wording main points in a similar way to highlight coordination and to indicate transition.
    Passive disclosure style A reluctance to express opinions, needs and wants in a constructive, healthy manner.
    Passive-Aggressive disclosure style A tendency to respond passively at first to avoid a direct confrontation, and then "getting back" at someone later; an indirect disclosure style.
    Pathos Engaging the emotions of the audience to persuade. See also logos and ethos.
    Patterns Pre-existing "templates" we use to order stimuli. These are ways of organizing the stimuli that we have learned and carry with us
    Patternicity Humans are instinctually driven to find patterns in stimuli as a survival mechanism.
    Perception A process by which we create mental images of the world around us; 3 stages: 1) sensory stimulation; 2) organization; 3) interpretation.
    Perception checking When a listener paraphrases the speaker's message to confirm they are understanding what the speaker intended correctly.
    Perceptual defense Our drive to maintain existing or strongly desired interpretations.
    Personal relationship One in which we reciprocate a depth and breadth of disclosure to increase mutual understanding.
    Personal zone A proxemic zone ranging from about 18" to about 4 feet in North America.
    Persuasive speech A speech in which the speaker aims to influence the audience's beliefs, attitudes, or actions to some degree..
    Persuasive speech audience For persuasive speaking, it is important the speaker determine the audience's pre-exisiting attitude regarding the topic and how that compares to the position the speaker is advocating.
    Pet peeves Items that bug us, nag at us, but are not significant issues
    Phatic communion Small talk; safe, superficial, socially prescribed disclosure on topics of low depth and breadth.
    Phonetic alphabet The collection of sounds a person needs to use to create to speak a specific language.
    Physiological limitations Basic sensory limitations; one or more of our senses is limited as to how well it will function.
    Pitch How high or low one’s voice is.
    Polychronic cultures Cultures in which time is fluid, punctuality is a low value, and activity is driven by immediate need versus a schedule. In contrast, see monochronic cultures.
    Power dynamics Variables affecting our ability to influence or control another person.
    Prestige testimony Quotations or paraphrases from a celebrity.
    Primacy-Recency effect A theory asserting that we are most struck by and retain as most memorable the first and last things we experience about a situation, person, or event; applied to public speaking, explains the importance of introductions and conclusions.
    Primary message The core message we intend to communicate.
    Primary tension The getting acquainted awkwardness we all experience when meeting new people; feeling ill at ease; not knowing what to say or how to begin. See tension.
    Problem/solution A speech organizational pattern: The speaker describes the dynamics of a problem , then offers a plan of action to fix that problem.
    Process An action comprised of multiple, interdependent parts working in concert.
    Producer Positive task group role: the person who actually creates the group's product.
    Provisionalism The ability to accept the diversity of perceptions and beliefs, and to operate in a manner sensitive to that diversity.
    Proxemics Refers to the communication value of the distance between people.
    Proximity A perception of a person or object is influenced by the surrounding environment.
    Pseudo conflict Conflict that is superficial and easily resolved.
    Pseudowork Superficial, low quality group work; group work that is shallow and not substantive.
    Psychobabble In listening, a type of analyzing in which a listener responds with an ignorant, superficial, and simplistic use of psychological concepts to explain the speaker's behaviors or concerns.
    Public speaking The communication setting of one person presenting a planned message to many.
    Public zone A proxemic zone that is 12 feet and larger in North America.
    Punctuality One's perception of what it means to be "on time."
    Quality How soft or harsh one's voice sounds.
    Questioning In listening, asking relevant, non-threatening questions in order to solicit additional information from a speaker.
    Quotations Sharing a person's thoughts verbatim.
    Race A social construct that developed based on biological traits.
    Rate How quickly we speak.
    Rationalists Believed that through science, truth would be revealed.
    Rapport talk A feminine style of communication with an emphasis on relationship development and maintenance.
    Receiver-based communication When the sender acts in a provisional manner, assuming they need to consider how best to communicate this specific message to this specific person or to this audience. In contrast, see sender-based communication.
    Reciprocal self-disclosure An exchange of similar disclosure levels to establish a comfort level in the relationship.
    Recorder Positive task group role: the note taker of the group.
    Reference groups A collection of individuals with whom acceptance and belongingness is very important.
    Reference to audience or occasion An attention-getting device in which the speaker comments on some shared trait of the audience or on a characterstics of the occasion.
    Referent power Power ascribed to an individual based on their charisma and interpersonal attactiveness.
    Regulators Nonverbal behaviors that control the flow of communication.
    Relational context The emotional nature or power status of a relationship at the moment of an interaction.
    Relationship Any connection between people.
    Relationship appropriateness In disclosure, evaluating the appropriateness of a topic based on the nature and history of the relationship.
    Relationship dimension What is being communicated, either explicitly or implicitly, about the nature of the relationship itself. In contrast to the Content dimension.
    Relationship stages Patterns for the ways relationships develop.
    Relevance In public speaking, demonstrating how or why the topic relates to the needs or interests of the audience.
    Remembering Retaining and recalling what we have heard.
    Report speech One in which the speaker takes a single body of information, analyzes it for the important points, then presents a summary of those important points.
    Report talk A masculine style of communication with an emphasis on exchanging factual information.
    Respond As part of SOLER, the subtle, primarily nonverbal behaviors we use to demonstrate we are paying attention.
    Responding In listening, how we react to a message.
    Response question In public speaking, asking a question to which the speaker expects the audience to reply immediately, either verbally or nonverbally.
    Restraint A culture that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms; have rigid social expectations of behavior that can be quite narrow.
    Reward power Power ascribed to an individual due to the offer of some desired item or action to influence a person’s actions.
    Rhetoric The study of techniques for persuasion as they apply to various audiences and occasions.
    Rhetorical theory Explanations of how audiences are persuaded.
    Rhetorical question In public speaking, a question asked to stimulate thinking, but to which the speaker does not expect a verbal or nonverbal response.
    Risk In disclosure, the perceived danger of disclosing information to another.
    Roles emerge See emergence.
    Role appropriateness In disclosure, determining if a topic is appropriate given the immediate social roles of the individuals.
    Scripts socially prescribed topics and dialogues we have learned to use to engage in casual, socially necessary communication
    Secondary tension Tension that rises again as the group matures, the work becomes more mundane, deadlines loom, and the initial commitment to the task and group falters.
    Self-appraisal Our perception of our traits and behaviors.
    Self-concept An image we hold about our self and our traits and the judgements we make about those traits.
    Self-disclosure see Disclosure
    Self-esteem How we judge and evaluate our traits.
    Self-fulfilling prophecy We predict something. We then act, often non-consciously, in a manner which makes it come true. Once it comes true, we have then verified our prediction.
    Self-reflexiveness Thoughtfully making choices about the most appropriate communication methods for a situation.
    Semantic noise Language problems. See also denotative noise and connotative noise.
    Sender-based communication When the sender acts in an egocentric manner, assuming the way they communicate is appropriate for everyone. In contrast, see receiver-based communication.
    Sensory selection An unconscious process of determining which stimulus gets attention and which stimuli is ignored.
    Sensory stimulation Our senses are bombarded by stimuli.
    Sex Biological; the set of physical parts that identify a person as male or female.
    Shakedown cruise In a task group, a time of tolerable tension in which they can focus on the task, develop the social dimension, and generally work well as a group. Falls after primary tension and before secondary tension.
    Shifting topics In listening, diverting the topic away from what the speaker is addressing to something the listener prefers.
    Short-term orientation A culture that places more emphasis on dealing with immediate issues and the "here and now." In contrast, see long-term orientation.
    Single words/phrases In a speech, general transition terms including words and phrases such as "also," "in addition to," "furthermore," "another," and so on.
    Signpost In a speech, very blatant, obvious transitions, e.g., "My second point...."
    Silencers Sommunication behaviors so offensive as to virtually stop communication.
    Simplicity We tend to favor the easiest, least confusing perception of a person or event
    Slideware Computer-based visual aids, such as PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or Google Slides
    Small group communication The communication setting of several communicating among several to accomplish a task.
    Social dimension The social interaction and relationships among group members; the foundation of effective group work.
    Social loafer Negative task group role: a member who attends but who does not engage and does nothing.
    Social maintenance needs In a group, interpersonal needs including such things as being supportive of each other, resolving conflicts, and trying to include all members. See also social dimension.
    Social/Physical context Refers to the actual location of the communication and the social rules associated with that physical location.
    Social pressure Professing perceptions consist with others to fulfill the need for acceptance and belongingness.
    Social zone A proxemic zone ranging from about 4 feet to about 12 feet in North America.
    Spatial A speech organizational pattern: arranging main points according to location or movement through space.
    Speaker interest The speaker should select a topic in which he/she has an interest to demonstrate enthusiasm for the topic.
    Specific speech purpose The narrow, focused direction the speech will be taking.
    Speech anxiety The typical nervous reaction speakers have to the uncertainties of a speaking event.
    Speeches to entertain A speech in which the primary goal is to generate laughter.
    Special occasion speeches Speeches designed to meet the expectations of specific events, such as a commencement, bestowing of an award, or eulogy.
    Square As part of SOLER, facing the person as directly as possible and as culturally appropriate.
    SOLER An acronym for effective attending behaviors: S = Square; O = Open; L = Lean; E = Eye Contact; R = Respond
    Sophists In Ancient Greece, traveling instructors who would teach their students persuasive methods, good delivery, and other techniques they could use to advance their position.
    Startling statement or statistic In public speaking, using a statement or statistic as an attention-getting device to trigger interest and curiosity.
    Statistics The numerical representation of data.
    Stereotypes Generalizations about a group of people categorized by an external marker, like sex, and skin color
    Stereotyping Using stereotypes to draw conclusions about a person or group of people. A type of implicit personaity theory.
    Stimulate shared meaning The goals of clear communication: what the speaker intends by her message and how the receiver interprets the message are highly similar
    Stimulus-Thought-Response We sense the world around us, we think about it, we talk about it, and finally we respond to it. We respond to thought more than stimulus.
    Style A canon of rhetoric: the wording of the presentation.
    Substitute A function of nonverbal is to take the place of verbal
    Summary/Preview In a speech, a transition device in which the speaker ends a point by recapping the main message, then foreshadows the message of the next point.
    Supporter Positive task group role: acknowledges input from other members.
    Supporting materials Any type of evidence, explanation, or illustration the speaker uses in the speech to enhance the likelihood the audience will accept and believe the message of the speech.
    Symbolic language A set of culturally determined sounds or shapes to which we attach meaning.
    Task commitment The degree of commitment to completing the group task successfully, both individually and shared.
    Task dimension The work a group does to complete the goal of the group. See also task needs.
    Task needs Member behaviors the group needs to accomplish the task. See also task dimension.
    Task/Social balance The relative emphasis a task group places on completing the work or engaging in interpersonal interaction. See also task dimension and social dimension.
    Tension The degree of uncertainty we feel in the social dimension of a group at a given moment. See primary tension and secondary tension.
    Tension reliever Positive task group role: the person who uses humor appropriately to decrease discomfort.
    Territoriality Our perception of ownership of space; a sense of a space being "ours" manage and control.
    Testimony Quotations or paraphrases stated by the speaker by others on the topic to prove a point. See also lay testimony, prestige testimony, and expert testimony.
    Thesis The specific, concise statement of intent for the speech.
    Thesis/preview In a speech, a special transition used immediately after the thesis in which the speaker tells the audience the main points to be covered.
    Time limits The time allocated for the speech. The speech should fill but not exceed the allocated time.
    Time orientation People and cultures view time in different ways; some cultures focus on the "here and now," while others focus more on the future.
    Tolerable tension A modest level of tension that does not distract from focusing on the group task.
    Topical A speech organizational pattern: dividing the speech into major subdivisions and ordering them in a logical pattern, e.g., specific to broad, or broad to specific.
    Transactional model of communication Multiple messages flowing simultaneously between people.
    Transactor A person who is sending and receiving messages simultaneously .
    Transient relationship A relationship that is short-lived and intended for a very narrow purpose.
    Trust The belief the other person is looking out for our own best interests.
    Type-casting Actors are often cast on their ability to reflect stereotypical representations of different character types.
    Unintentional Messages the sender is unaware of sending.
    Understanding Decoding the verbal message.
    Valence The positive or negative tone of the disclosure.
    Validating In listening, responding by offering a label for the emotion the listener perceives the speaker to be expressing.
    Validation Seeking confirmation from reference groups and individuals that our perceptions, values, and beliefs are reasonable and accurate reflections of the world.
    Value conflict A conflict over how we rank the relative importance of issues or actions. See also belief conflict and action conflict.
    Verbal communication Using words to send messages. In contrast to nonverbal communication.
    Verbatim Sharing another person's thoughts using the exact wording of their original statement.
    Visual aids In public speaking, any sensory element added to the speech to enhance the speaker's message.
    Vocalized listening Silently forming questions, comments, and summaries in oneself while listening in order to attend to and fully process the speaker's message.
    Volume How loudly a person speaks.
    Withdrawer Negative task group role: a member who does not attend meetings nor engage the group in any way.
    Withdrawing A conflict management method in which we avoid handling the conflict at all, removing ourselves either physically or psychologically.
    • Was this article helpful?