A Self-Adaptor

“Adaptors are displays of nonverbal communication that help you adapt to your environment and each

context, helping you feel comfortable and secure.” [3] A self-adaptor involves you meeting your need for

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security (e.g., playing with your hair) by adapting something about yourself in way for which it was not

designed or for no apparent purpose. Combing your hair would be an example of a purposeful action,

unlike a self-adaptive behavior. An object-adaptor involves the use of an object in a way for which it was

not designed. You may see audience members tapping, chewing, or playing with their pencils while

ignoring you and your presentation. Or perhaps someone pulls out a comb and repeatedly rubs a

thumbnail against the comb’s teeth. They are using the comb or the pencil in a way other than its intended

design, an object-adaptor that communicates a lack of engagement or enthusiasm in your speech.


Intentional nonverbal communication can complement, repeat, replace, mask, or contradict what we say.


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