Public Distance

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  • The lecturing distance (public speaking distance). E. T. Hall, an anthropologist, described the public distance as 13–26 feet. For example, this would be the distance that a manager typically uses to lecture his or her workers or when speaking to a group that the manager wants to keep in his or her view. Hall is of the view that maintaining a certain distance from others has the character of a nonverbal message. Its precondition is that the other person has the same need for space. If this is not the case, misunderstandings are likely to occur. The need for public space varies from culture to culture. For example, Hall points out that Germans tend to maintain relatively large public distances (large private spheres).

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