Understanding Non-Verbal Communication

Understanding Non-Verbal Communication

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In its most basic form, communicating involves a sender who takes his
or her thoughts and encodes them into verbal and non-verbal messages
that are sent to a receiver. The receiver than decodes the messages and
attempts to understand what the sender meant to communication. The
communication is completed when the receiver transmits verbal and
nonverbal feed back to indicate his or her reception and understanding
of the message.

This process takes place within a context; also know as rhetorical
situation, which includes all that affects the communication process
such as the sender-receiver’s culture, the sender-receiver‘s
relationship, the circumstances surrounding the sender-receiver’s
interaction, and the physical environment of the interaction.

Because the basic communication process is the same in every
situation, there are some similarities across all types of
interactions. Just the same, each interaction remains distinct and
therefore each rhetorical situation will be different. For example,
think about how you communicate with another person in the library and
at a party. In both cases, you are sending messages and reacting to
feedback. But the rhetorical situation of the library means that you
will be speaking in whispers, whereas at the party you will be
speaking much louder and with more animated gestures. If you were to
switch style, whispering at the party and yelling at the library,
then, your communication style will be ineffective to day the least.
In both situations, you are engaging in the same communication
process, but the rhetorical situation requires you to act different

Verbal communication is simply using spoken language to convey a
message to other people. However, nonverbal communication is far more
complicated, it contains the use of object, body language, actions and
symbols to show meaning to people. In fact, it’s not easy to define
non-verbal communication, because “experts disagree about whether
count unintended action as nonverbal communication.”

(http://maine.maine.edu/~zubrick/tren5.html, 28/4/2005)

Non-verbal communication is deceptively important in how we express
ourselves , and it plays a huge part in child’s development into

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adulthood. For the first two years or so of a child's life, they must,
in the absence of a developed vocabulary, be content with
communicating their needs non-verbally. This is of very little problem
to them: they can easily express a number of wishes without words:
they grab for their bottle, point at items they want and almost from
birth, these actions can be accompanied by a smile. As they grow and
learn the gestures that are directed at them daily, the child can wave
and blow kisses at his departing parent. As a baby and young child,
the movements usually take the place of speech. However, as the child
ages he learns that communication can be more

effective if used both verbally and nonverbally simultaneously.
Furthermore, as he grows, so too does his ability to communicate using
more elaborate gestures. However, as an infant, the child used his
gestures to convey emotional needs- to point to something he wanted or
to reach out to be lifted up- but as a older child, they are used for
various other purposes, such as to exaggerate or empathise a point.
One common childish nonverbal move that many parents could often do
without is the child stomping one foot on the ground while crossing
their arms defiantly and shouting "NO!" Another, more of a nonverbal
warning for the parents really, is the quivering lower lip, a danger
sign that there may be trouble ahead.codf dfr sedfdfw ordf dfk indf
fodf df.

Non-verbal communication in children can often be quite helpful to
adults in understanding them. Children are usually quite poor at
hiding strong emotions, so if something is bothering them, and the
child won't tell, the problem can often be deciphered by watching the
child's bodily movements. If another person has caused the grievance,
the child's stance and facial expression towards that person may give
it away easily- a typical position is the body bent in a 'c' shape
away from the wrong-doer, arms crossed, with a scowl and eyes narrowed
at him/her.

Dispite the influence of our everyday life, non-verbal communication
also plays an important role in all types of business and professional
intreaction, however, the advantage of technology has allowed the
manager and employees both to overlook the

importance of good interpersonal communication and especially the
imporatnt non-verbal communication. This is no suprise to find that at
the root of a large number of organization problem is poor
communication, in fact, management must become very skilled in
non-verbal communication in order to lead a productive workforce

better communication can increase effectiveness and productivity,
develope oneself into a more marketable leader to the orgnization.,
eliminate those mixed messages and subliminal cues which you do not
want to send and close more sales with customer.communication can be
improved by communication training, organization redesign, cultural
change and new system implementation. Poor communication can sabotage
every postive thing that an organization doing,Thus, effective
communication is an essential component of organizational success
whether it is at the interpersonal, intergroup, organizational or
external level.

Although there is no definination of non-verbal communication,
however, in some books,

“ Nonverbal communication is regarded as occurring whenever stimuli
other than words create meaning in either a sender's or a receiver's

(http://maine.maine.edu/~zubrick/tren5.html, 28/4/2005)

Non-verbal communications are messages people convey through body,
touch, and vocal variation, with the use of space, time and objects.
The different classes of non-verbal communication are kinesics,
haptics, and proximics etc. Non-verbal communication is very important
to expressing our emotions and social meaning, and it provides a
valuable and reliable way of learning about someone. Sometimes is
better to transmit the message nonverbally, for example , long periods
of silence at the dinner table can communicate as clearly as any words
that something is wrong. There are different types of non-verbal
messages. In ancient time, pictographic and hieroglyphic writing as
used in Babylonia, Mayan, and Chinese cultures represents an extension
of the ritual sense for storing and expediting access to human
experience. All of these forms gave pictorial expression to oral

Nowadays, the way of non-verbal communications are different with the
ancient time, but it is also taking place based on the purpose of
expressing emotions non-vernally.

Eye contact, an important channel of interpersonal communication helps
regulate the flow of communication. And it signals interest in others.
Gazing at other’s eyes arouses strong emotions. Thus, eye contact
rarely last for three seconds before one or both viewers experience a
powerful urge to glance away. Breaking eye contact lowers stress
level, for example, breathing rate, heart rate, and sweaty palm.
However, if eye contact is used properly, eye contact with audiences
increases the speaker’s credibility. People who make eye contact open
the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth and

Facial expression, the act of a communication in mood, attitude,
opinion, feeling or other message by contracting the muscle of the
face. The combined expressive force of our chin, lips, cheek, eye and
brow muscle are without peer in the world. Better than any body parts,
our face reflects our true feeling and hidden attitude. For instance,
smiling is a powerful cue that transmits happiness, friendliness,
warmth, liking, affiliation. Thus, if people smile frequently, they
will be perceived as more likeable, friendly, warm, and approachable.
In addition, smiling is often contagious. Many facial expression are
universal, though must be shaped by cultural usage and rules.

Gestures and Kinesics is similar, but gesture is international whereas
kinesics is unintentional. Gesture is a signal, sign and cue used to
communicate in tandem with or apart from words. Gesture includes
facial expression (e.g. eyebrow rise, smile), body movement (e.g. palm
down, shoulder shrug) and posture (e.g. angular distance). Those
gestures contain a messaging feature to communicate as signs and
information. If people fail to gesture while speaking, they may be
perceived as boring stiff and unanimated. A lively and animated
message captures receiver attention, makes the conversation more
interesting. For example, headnobs is a form of gestures, communicate
positive reinforcement to receiver, and indicate that you are

Posture and body orientation, your communication numerous messages by
the way they talk, stand and sit, standing erect, but not rigid, and
leaning slightly forward communicates to people that you are
approachable, receptive, and friendly. Speaking with your back turned
or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided, because
interpersonal closeness results when you and your receiver face each
other, it communicate disinterest to the receiver. On the other hand,
to bend, curl, or curve the upper body and head forward are considered
to be posture. Around the world, people bow to greet, to show
courtesy. In some cultures the bow is a formal gesture, for example,
Japan, where people are judged by their bow. A causal hello to
Japanese is a quick bend to a 15 degree angle, a respectful greeting
to customer or superior is a 30 degree bow, and a formal apology
involves a quick bend to a 45 degree bow.

Space and distance usually known as proximity, like eye contact,
facial expression, and gesture, space also is a form of communication.
Cultural norms dictate that a comfortable distance for interaction
with audience, sender should look for signals of discomfort caused by
invading audience’s space, some of these are rocking, leg swinging,
tapping, gaze aversion. In fact, increasing proximity enables you make
better eye-contact.

Paralanguage, this fact of non-verbal communication includes such
verbal element such as, pitch, accent, rhythm, timbre, tone,
inflection. Sender who speaks in a monotone, listeners perceives these
speakers as boring and dull.

Humor, it is often overlooked in communication process, however, humor
is also a very important element which we have to concern, laughter
releases stress and tension for both speaker and listener.

Haptics, also known as touching, it is a tactical signal where a sign
received through physical contact with a body party (e.g. hand, lips),
causing it to feel and also a sign of physical contact (e.g. of
pressure, temperature, vibration) delivered to a body (e.g. kiss).
Touch cues are powerfully real to human beings, and they are used
worldwide to show emotions in setting of childcare, comforting and
courtship and to establish personal rapport. It is also an effective
channel of communication, particularly for blind and deaf individuals,
however, this communication behavior must be used with cautions,
because it can result a sexual harassment.

Tone of voice, the manner in which a verbal statement is presented,
e.g. rhythm, breathiness, loudness, hoarseness, those qualities of
speaking are also a form of nonverbal communication. The tone of voice
reflects physiological arousal, emotion and mood; it may also carry
social information, as in a sarcastic, superior, or submissive manner
of speaking.

Non-verbal communication includes various elements; most certainly we
regulate the flow of conversation nonverbally by using different
behaviors, for instance, raising an index finger or eyebrow, nodding,
leaning forward or changing eye contact and so on. Sometimes it is
even powerful than the verbal interaction, since when there is a
conflict between nonverbal and verbal messages, the audience tends to
believe nonverbal, an effective speaker should make sure that the
nonverbal messages compliment and strengthen the verbal messages and
also to learn all that is possible about the audience and to adopt the
message to that audience.
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