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Paralinguistics and Leadership Credibility

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Paralinguistics and Leadership Credibility
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   PARALINGUISTIC CUES AND THEIR EFFECT ON LEADER CREDIBILITY ________________________ A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of Communication and Leadership Studies School of Professional Studies Gonzaga University ________________________ Under the Supervision of Carolyn Cunningham, PhD Under the Mentorship of John S. Caputo, PhD ________________________ In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies ________________________ By Monte B. Reid April 2013  Running head: PARALINGUISTIC CUES AND THEIR EFFECT ON LEADER CREDIBILITY 2 SIGNATURE PAGE  Running head: PARALINGUISTIC CUES AND THEIR EFFECT ON LEADER CREDIBILITY 3 ABSTRACT Paralinguistic cues are powerful non-verbal communication elements that have the ability to make even good news sound horrible or bad news more palatable. Drawing upon the hermeneutical phenomenology communication theory of Dilthey (1961) and Shannon’s (1949) communication channel model, this thesis targeted the six primary paralinguistic cues of  fluidity, articulation, sonority, tempo, emotion, and dynamic intensity  to discover how these cues interact and affect the credibility and palatability of a leader’s message. To facilitate remembrance of these cues, the acronym F.A.S.T.E.D. was coined and used. Three different groups consisting of managers, non-managers, and media and public relations professionals were surveyed to provide a triangulation of the data that helped identify these relationships. Research showed that these vocal cues were every bit as essential to an accurate understanding of the message as the actual words the leader employed to explain and compel both internal and external stakeholders. Further, the study indicates the importance of learning and applying these skills as well as a universality of their existence that transcends language barriers and cultural differences.  Running head: PARALINGUISTIC CUES AND THEIR EFFECT ON LEADER CREDIBILITY 4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  Not many works of substance are entirely the work of one person and for whatever contribution this thesis may yield to the field of communication, it is certainly not by my efforts alone. I am deeply indebted to not only the scholars from whom I have gleaned the information that has influenced this study, but also to many who have offered practical, scholarly, and emotional support and guidance along the way. In particular, there are a few  people I would be amiss if I did not mention for their outstanding contributions. My wife Marica - who has wholeheartedly supported and encouraged me during the entire course of my studies, her patience and perseverance have been nothing less than amazing. She has been an objective sounding board whose advice has been anchored in the reality of the daily leadership and communication she practices in her career and personal life. Dr. John S. Caputo – my mentor and rhetorical guide. His gentle prodding allowed me to see new perspectives in the light of writers of antiquity and contemporary scholars alike. His questions helped me refine what was only an obscure idea regarding some innate feelings about communication into the research presented here. Dr. Carolyn Cunningham – my professor who guided content, revisions, and more revisions. Her inspiration and help was always there with practical advice and attention to detail. She patiently guided my novice writing and research along what seemed a daunting  journey at the outset and brought it safely into harbor. Her extensive knowledge of the field added greatly to the quality and depth I would have been limited to on my own.  Running head: PARALINGUISTIC CUES AND THEIR EFFECT ON LEADER CREDIBILITY 5 Kelly Langpap – communication professional. The data gathered from a majority of survey respondents represented in this study would not have been possible without her willing spirit and hard work producing the names and contact information needed to reach out with the survey tool used here. And finally, my appreciation to all those who gave their time to complete the online survey that generated the data this study is based upon. Without their engagement, this thesis would have been impossible to complete. For all of you, I am deeply grateful. Monte Reid
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