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Instructor Note 7:
Learning Objective 2: Recognize various nonverbal cues and
their effect on customers.
Learning Objective Note: PPTs 5-6 should be used with Learning Objective 2,
pages 89-99.
Students should understand the concept behind this objective, since various
nonverbal cues will impact how customers and others view them.
Using PPT 5, mention that there are basically six categories of nonverbal
Body language
Vocal cues
Spatial cues (proxemics)
Environmental cues
Miscellaneous cues
Review the components of Body Language (eye contact, posture, facial
expressions, nodding of the head, and gestures) as you show PPT: 6 Body
Stress that while reading the nonverbal body cues given by others can be useful in
determining total message meaning, students must also be cautious about what
they think they see. This is because each person interprets cues somewhat
differently based on background, culture, physical condition, communication
ability and other factors. Nonverbal cues should be viewed as a partial rather than
definitive answer when determining someone’s true message. Take some time to
go through each of the types of cues and talk about how they impact message
interpretation. Stress that culture, gender and many other diversity-related factors
come into play when interpreting cues.
Instructor Note 8:
Activity: Ask students: When someone does not make eye contact with you
when you are speaking, what thoughts go through your head? Lead a discussion
on the importance of eye contact (see text pages 89-90) in communicating with
others. Solicit examples from students of situations in which they were involved
that had negative outcomes because of the way eye contact was used or misused.
Remind students that cultural differences related to eye contact need to be
considered as part of any analysis of a customer service situation.
Activity: Ask: The Customer Service Success Tip on page 89 should be the
next attention-getter for students. Ask students to review these items, thinking
about themselves and those with whom they communicate. Then assign an
activity in which students keep a record of these attributes as they notice them in
individuals with whom they deal regularly for five days. Have them keep a list of
these attributes to share with the class during the next meeting.
Instructor Note 9:
Point out the photo on page 90. Ask students what they think is going on in this
photo. Have students provide answers to the question: What cues do you
regularly send that impact the way customers perceive you and your organization?
This photo will tie in nicely with the Customer Service Success Tip activity
Refer to the section on Posture, page 90 in the text.
Instructor Note 10:
Activity: Ask the class if their parents or another adult told them as a child to
“Stand/Sit up straight.” What message were they trying to convey that can help
you as a service provider? Solicit answers from the class and have a volunteer list
them on the flipchart.
Instructor Note 11:
Refer to Facial Expressions in the section on page 90. Students will find a
discussion about the emotions expressed through the face interesting. Smiling is
one of the few nonverbal cues that has a universal meaning but can still lead to
problems. Refer the class to the scenario regarding a person of the Middle East in
the section on page 90. Ask students if they realized that even a smile can be a
problem in some cultures.
Activity: Use the chart of facial expressions in the Work It Out 4.1 on page 91.
Have students write the letters ‘A’ to ‘T’ in a straight line on a sheet of paper.
Then, ask them to provide the emotion they think is being shown in each face.
After about 5-10 minutes, solicit answers; compare them with those the author
suggests below:
A. Aggressive B. Happy C. Indifferent D. Innocent E. Perplexed F. Sad
G. Smug H. Surprised I. Blissful J. Ecstatic K. Disgusted L. Puzzled
M. Lovestruck N. Regretful O. Bored
P. Bashful Q. Determined
R. Exhausted S. Frightened T. Hysterical
Ask students how they did in reading the faces.
Instructor Note 12:
Refer to the section Nodding of the Head on page 91. Ask students to think of a
time when nodding of the head was misinterpreted, perhaps when buying an
article. Mention that paralanguage (a vocal effect such as “uh huh,” “I see,”
“hmmm”) may help avoid misinterpretation of the nods. Along with the head
nodding, gestures are also used to add color, excitement and enthusiasm to
communication. The key is to make gestures seem natural.
Activity: Lead a discussion using Figure 4.2 on page 92. Have students offer
additional positive and negative gestures and other behaviors as you write their
responses on a flipchart.
Instructor Note 13:
Activity: Have students come to the front of the class, one at a time, and without
others hearing, privately assign each an emotion from Work It Out 4.1, page 91.
Have him/her demonstrate that emotion nonverbally, while other students attempt
to guess the emotion being displayed. After each demonstration, have students
give constructive feedback.
Voice qualities (pitch, volume, rate, quality and articulation) and other attributes
of verbal communication can send nonverbal messages as well.
Discuss each voice quality noted: pitch, p. 92; volume, rate of speech, voice
quality, articulation, p. 93. Ask students to demonstrate some of these qualities,
such as volume and rate of speech.
Instructor Note 14:
Point out the photo on page 93 to the class. Ask them what they think is
happening in the photo. Ask how they feel when a service provider smiles at
them. (They will mostly likely be pleased, but you may get some negative
Instructor Note 15:
Following up on the activity where students performed impressions of facial
expressions, have them review Work It Out 4.2 on page 94. Mention that they
may want to practice these gestures in front of a mirror at home.
Instructor Note 16:
Refer the class to the Customer Service Success Tip on page 94. Mention the
reasons stated in the Tip about standing up straight when speaking. You may want
to have some students practice not standing up straight while talking to see how
their voices are impacted. You can take part in this activity and exaggerate some
positions so that your voice is restricted.
Instructor Note 17:
Spend some time discussing pauses, silence and semantics from page 94 in the
text. Mention that pauses can aid message interpretation by punctuating sentences
and adding emphasis, or can detract from interpretation by creating audible gaps
in message delivery.
Silence can also send positive or negative messages. While semantics is not
actually a vocal quality, word selection is often crucial in determining the
outcome of an interaction with a customer. Stress the tie to vocal delivery. Using
Work It Out 4.3, page 95, have students pair up and take turns with the
examples. Let them stop to listen to other pairs also.
Through appearance and grooming habits, you project an image of yourself and
the organization. Good personal hygiene and attention to your appearance are
crucial in a customer environment. Remember, customers do not have to return if
they find you or your peers offensive in any manner. And without customers, you
do not have a job.
Discuss the section on hygiene, page 95.
Instructor Note 18:
Activity: Ask students to think of people who either do not clean themselves well
or who go to the extreme, overusing grooming products, especially cologne, after
shave or perfume. How do you think your customers will react to both examples?
Students will provide a variety of situations and scenarios. Discuss with the class
the section on Clothing and Accessories and how they should determine the attire
for the workplace. (Answers may be to check with human resources, to read the
company manual, to watch videos or read books that are available about
appropriate workplace attire.)
Spatial distances are important and unique to each individual. In addition, many
cultures also have accepted spatial distances. Review Figure 4.3 on page 97 with
the class. Ask them to think about these distances and offer an opinion as to
whether they should be observed in customer service.
Instructor Note 19:
Refer the class to the photo on page 96. What is happening here? Has the
proxemics been violated here? Refer the class also to the Customer Service
Success Tip, page 96. Ask for input about how they feel about touching (refer to
the photo again) in the workplace.
Instructor Note 20:
Use PPT7: Environment Cues while discussing the section on pages 96-97.
Note that the surroundings or environment in which you work or service
customers send messages. For example, if your work area appears dirty or
disorganized with pencils, materials, staplers, forms, and other items such as food
or drink cartons, trash or visible clutter, customers may perceive that you and the
organization have a lackadaisical attitude and approach to business. This
perception may cause customers to question your ability and commitment to
serve. If every employee takes responsibility for cleaning the area when he or she
works there, then it becomes a normal event during a work shift shared by
everyone. Additionally, this reduces the chance that a customer may react
negatively. Keep in mind, also, that posters, banners, photos of any potentially
offensive items (photos of men or women in inappropriate attire) or photos that
target any group or religious view can be offensive.
Work with students about various miscellaneous cues they may encounter, such as
personal habits, time allocation and attention, follow-through, proper etiquette and
manners and color (see pages 97-99). Refer to Figure 4. 4, page 99, and lead a
discussion about the emotional messages of color. Ask students for their input on
each color choice and the message it may entail.
Instructor Note 21:
Activity: Using Work It Out 4.4, page 98, have students pair up, complete the
activity and then answer the questions in the exercise.
Instructor Note 22:
Refer the class to Ethical Dilemma 4.1, pages 98, 99. Have students read the
scenario, and then work in groups of 4 (depending on the size of the class) to
answer the questions at the end of the exercise. Review their answers before
having them compare them to the possible answers on page 111 in the text.
To tie into this last section on nonverbal behavior, use a flipchart; facilitate a
discussion in which students identify a list of annoying behaviors they have seen
service providers use. After the list is generated, stress that the students
themselves represent the consumers that they may one day encounter in the
service environment. Suggest that they use their list as a checklist to avoid these
engaging in these behaviors.