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More Non-Verbal Communication… Proxemics

Another interesting communication concept is the study of proxemics, which is simply the perception of body spacing and postures.  Under the rules of proxemics, the physical distance between people are relative to the relationship they share.   In order to avoid a social or professional faux pas, it is recommended that you do not share space outside of another person’s comfort zone.

For example…

Intimate distance:  The distance at close phase can be 6 inches and can include embracing, touching, or whispering.   This proxemics is usually seen among people in an intimate relationship.

Personal distance: The distance at close phase can be 1.5 to 2.5 feet and is usually reserved for good friends.

Social distance: The distance at close phase is 4 to 7 feet and is usually used between formal acquaintances, colleagues, or business associates.

Public distance: The distance at close phase is 12 to 25 feet and is used as a public speaker or when engaging with strangers.

It is also important to remember that various cultures may have different standards and definitions of personal space.   Latin cultures are relatively more comfortable in closer phase settings than are other cultures; so being familiar with your “audience” is important relative to physical proximity when communicating with others.  This becomes another important Success Habit!

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Judy W Bell

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