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Roxxette ArmasProfessor Katharina LangSPC1017-2215-295906/04/2021

M2: Lesson 5: Fieldwork Essay

Nonverbal communication is “the transmission of meaning through an

individual’s nonspoken physical and behavioral cues”. (Pg.142). In everyday life, we use

nonverbal communication gestures, such as emblems, as a “substitute for verbal

statements” (Pg.145). By using multiple channels, auditory, visual, and tactile, we convey

nonverbal communication gestures and cues to indicate our feelings towards certain

situations. For example, if you get into a fight with your sister, you might scowl and raise

your voice to indicate you’re upset.

As I stated, we use nonverbal communication gestures daily, I have witnessed the

use of these gestures’ multiple times. Most of the times I’ve observed others and even

realized I was using nonverbal communication gestures, is when I’m at work. I work at

Ulta Beauty, a beauty retail store, which provides beauty supplies and services for

hundreds of guests daily. In this environment, I must maintain my “customer-service

face”. Meaning, If I feel upset, disrespected, angry, or embarrassed, I typically have to

hold it all in to enhance and maintain customer experience and this applies to my

coworkers as well. But this doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge outlandish behavior

whenever we encounter it.

Yesterday, June 3rd, a guest came up to the registers to pay after having her hair

services done at our salon. She was visibly upset and kept walking frantically back and

forth between the mirror at the front of the store and the cash register. She paid for her

service and asked me in a frantic high-pitched tone, which signaled how upset she was,

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whether or not I saw tones of brown in her hair as she pointed to her hair. Using an

illustrator, an accent verbal message, she pointed at her hair while asking whether or not I

saw brown spots in her hair. I honestly replied that yes, I did see tones of brown in her

hair. This comment made her even more upset because it validified what she was thinking

the entire time, so she snatched her receipt from my hand and walked over to the salon to

speak with the hairstylist.

As the guest was walking over, my coworker Karen used an emblem, a substitute

for a verbal statement, to signal to me with her eyes that this was going to be a tough

situation by opening her eyes up wide and looking back and forth from the guest to me,

this gesture conveyed that Karen did not see a positive ending to the situation at hand. I

replied to this signal using an emblem by raising my eyebrows and shrugging my

shoulders to indicate that I had no idea what was about to happen and to convey how

apprehensive I was about the matter at hand. From a distance, I kept observing the

interaction between the hairstylist and the guest. It was obvious how upset she was, she

held her hair up to the hairstylist multiple times while saying “It’s brown, not black!” in a

high-pitched tone, which is an illustration, to emphasize and convey how upset she was

about her hair being the wrong color. All the hairstylists could do was use an emblem by

shrugging with her eyes squinted and her arms crossed, staring at the guests’ hair, to

indicate that although she feels bad that the guest is upset, there is nothing she can do

about it. The hairstylist maintained this gesture throughout their entire conversation

which conveyed a sense of understanding but understandably frustrated the guest.

The guest would go on to repeatedly roll her eyes and shake her head with crossed

arms, which is an emblem, to convey that she was unhappy with the situation and feels it

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was unacceptable. Soon enough, the manager was called to handle the situation. My

manager, Aimee, approached the two women with a stern, fast-paced, walk to indicate

was trying to resolve the problem quickly. I think Aimee’s warm but stern demeanor

helped the customer feel some sort of relief or hope that Aimee would be able to resolve

the problem. Aimee approached the guest with a smile while fiddling with her hands and

squinting her eyes. Despite the guest’s initial gesture of confidence in Aimee, this all

changed when the guest started getting upset again about the situation. She was visibly

upset because she was pointing at her hair, the hairstylist Coco, and the wall of hair dyes

that are set up in the salon this illustrative gesture conveyed how upset the guest was and

how she blamed Coco for the state of her hair. The guest again used the repetitive

emblem gesture she had been using since the situation started, of rolling her eyes,

crossing her arms, and shaking her head to convey her displeasure.

Once the guest was finished talking, Aimee tried to convey empathy using an

illustration. Aimee would point at the walls of dye and Coco, while letting the guest know

she could get her hair re-dyed for no cost while squinting her eyes, tilting her head, and

fiddling with her fingers. Despite Aimee’s attempt to please and empathize with the

customer, this was not enough. The guest marched out of the store while shaking her head

to convey her irritation with the situation while yelling that she would never return to the

store ever again. Once she left, all my coworkers stood still, using emblems to convey our

shock by looking at one another with our eyes wide, while Aimee walked towards us

shaking her head still fiddling with her fingers.

This is not the first instance in which my coworkers and I have used emblems to

silently communicate our thoughts on matters that occurred throughout the store. This

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situation just goes to show, how we are constantly using nonverbal communication

gestures to convey our emotions. Although the guest did not explicitly say she was

irritated, her crossed arms and eye-rolls said enough so everyone understood how she

felt. Although Aimee did not say she was apprehensive about the whole situation, her

gesture of fiddling with her fingers was enough to show how she felt, and although I

don’t exactly know what the situation left off on, by the gestures I witnessed, thanks to

nonverbal communication, I could take a pretty big guess.

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