Non verbal Communication is extremely complex yet integral part of overall communication skills, usually, people are totally unaware of the non-verbal behavior they use. A basic awareness of Non Verbal communication strategies over and above can help to improve interaction with others. Knowledge of this can be used to encourage people to talk about their concerns and can lead to a greater understanding.
It includes facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and distance between communicators. It helps people in reinforcing what is said in words, convey information about their emotional state, provides feedback to other person, regulates the flow of communication and most importantly, defines the relationship between people.
Many people understand that non –verbal communication is mere a language that can be learned but the implications are that the real feelings and intentions of a person can’t be understood. Interpretation of non verbal language is not very easy. It is further complicated if the interpretation is not done accurately. It is complete package of expression, hand and eye movement, postures and gestures.
These are basically categorized as:
- Body movements
- Postures and gestures
- Eye contact
- Facial Expression
- Personal space
- Parallel Language
Body Movements: It Includes hand and body movements. It can be used to reinforce what a person is saying and also offer information about the emotions and attitude of a person. There are different categories with which a skilled observer can detect such discrepancies in behavior and use them as a clue to what someone is really feeling. Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a wealth of information to the world.
Postures and gestures: Postures can reflect person’s emotions, attitude and intentions. These are often unintentional moves which can conflict with what is being said sometimes. Gestures are also used to give feedback when conversing. Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing or speaking animatedly—expressing ourselves with gestures often without thinking. However, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation
Eye Contact: It is a very important aspect of non verbal language. Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s response.It is used to give and receive Feedback, to let a person know when their turn to speak is. It is also used to communicate something about a relationship between people.
Facial Expressions: The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures. When someone is talking, changes in the facial expressions can be easily noticed and people respond accordingly. These include raising your eyebrows, yawning, nodding, rolling your eyes, sneering, gaping etc.
Personal space: Have you ever noticed the way a loving couple relates to each other. You will see that their positions match as if they both are mirror reflection of each other. For eg: If one partner drapes his arm around others neck, the other partner will also do the same. This indicates the trust and approval between people. Every culture has different levels of physical closeness depending upon the type of relationship. It today’s society, it is important to consider non verbal codes.
Parallel language: It relates to the voice which is not the part of the verbal communication. It includes the tone and the pitch of the voice, the volume, the pauses, the hesitation and the speed. These signals indicate the feelings like sounds indicate anger etc. It’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace, how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding, such as “ahh” and “uh-huh.” Think about how someone’s tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence
The effects of Nonverbal Communication can send a strong signal in spite of the words you use. It can
- Repeat your message already delivered verbally.
- Add to the meaning of your message which can either be positive or negative
- Contradict to what you are saying
Relationships lot depends on the non verbal communication. The quality of your relationship can be improved if used skillfully or can deteriorate if used unwisely. Trust, care, love, respect can easily be communicated with nonverbal language.
Simply put, Non verbal communication includes all the ways you present and express yourself, apart from the words one speak. Non verbal messages are sent from ones emotional brain, they create more honest and concrete message.
Non verbal communication is effective for everybody in all spheres of life. To example some, Professionals use non verbal language to evaluate their clients, customers and co workers. In relationships success depends on the effective language used by both of them.
Effective non verbal communication is critically also very important in career advancements. It reveals your confidence, Enthusiasm and professionalism.
To Conclude, Good communication is foundation of any successful relationship. It is important to recognize that its non verbal communication that speak the boldest. The ability to understand and use effective non verbal communication is a powerful tool that can help you connect with others, express what to really mean and build better relationships.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – Peter F. Drucker
Contributed by Shilpa Aggarwal Gupta ( Class of 2005, IBS HYDERABAD )