Usually, we dont cry at our desks at work, run down the halls in happiness or punch collegues who frustrate us. We live in a culture that doesnt encourage tremendous emotional displays, especially in the work space. The rules of expression in a culture are called cultural display rules, and they vary depending on the emotion, the person expressing it and the situation.
Because we dont always feel internally what the cultural display rules dictate, our nonverbal behaviour can reveal feelings that we wish to conceal. We may not be actually sad at a funeral or happy at a wedding, but the nonverbal communication can reveal how we really feel.
Often we dont actively listen or notice the tone of a person’s voice, but it has become so common, that we pay little attention to it. We are used that a person yells when he is mad, and talks softly when he is ashamed. With the intonation of your voice you can give a spoken message more strenght, or the opposite, weaken it down.
When you want to learn to read bodylanguage, there are alot of factors you can use to come to a better judgement. Ok, the tone of the voice is verbal meaning you can hear it, but the purpose the tone serves, is often not discussed or mentioned, and therefor you can call it nonverbal as wel.
There are alot of ways you can use your voice, this can be a very good indicator and helps alot to read and understand certain social situations.
The tone or intonation of your voice is an important part of the body language. Not the words your pronounce, but the way you do it can tell alot about some one’s personality. And like body language, alot of people arent aware that their voice gives away alot of information.
Can you judge a person only by hearing their voice?
You all know the example of hearing a person for the first time on the telephone. Automatically you make an image of that person in your head, based on the voice you hear. If the person is a fast talker, then you see that person as self confident, because he isnt afraid to speak and knows to articulate well. Opposite of that is a person you really need to focus to hear them well, because they speak with a soft voice. In this case the person gives a shy, maybe scared impression.