According to experts, an extensive part of human communication is nonverbal. On a daily basis, we tend to respond through nonverbal cues and behaviors which includes postures, facial expression, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice. From the handshakes we initiate to our hairstyles we put-forth, nonverbal specifics disclose who we are and influence how we relate to other people.
The research work on non-verbal communication began with the 1872 publication of Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. In many instances, we connect the information in nonverbal ways using groups of actions. For example, we combine a frown with crossed arms and unbaiting eye gaze to show dissatisfaction.
1. Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are answerable for a vast part of nonverbal communication, a lot of information can be said with a smile or a frown. The expression on a person’s face is usually the first aspect we see, even before we listen to what they are about to say! Although nonverbal communication and behavioral patterns can vary drastically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are alike throughout the world.
Thoughtful movements and signals are a significant way to express meanings without words. The most commonly used gestures are waving, pointing, and using fingers to specify numeric amounts. There are a few types of gestures which are arbitrary and are related to culture. In courtroom situations, lawyers have been identified to use various nonverbal gestures to sway juror opinions. Glancing at his/her watch suggest that the opposition lawyer’s disagreement is monotonous or rolling eyes at the testament proposed by a witness can be a shot to demoralize the other party’s authority. These nonverbal gestures are so powerful and dominant that judges even place restrictions on the types of gestures permitted inside the courtroom.
Paralinguistics denotes to being vocal which is different from the actual language. Linguistic factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection, and pitch influence a person’s sensitivity to the concerned situation. When said in a solid tone of voice, listeners might approve, infer or react accordingly. While the same terms said in a timid tone of voice conveys discontentment. Hence the tone or pitch of a voice can entirely change the meaning of the sentence/term. A person might ask you how you are doing, you might respond “I’m fine,” but the way you say those words reveals a great amount of how you are feeling. A cold tone of voice suggests that you are truly not fine and don’t wish to converse. A cheerful tone will divulge that you are doing quite well.
4. Body Language and Posture
Postures and mainly hand moves convey a great deal of information. There has been significant growth in the study of body language since the 1970s, but popular media have been focusing mainly on the interpretation of self-justifying postures like arm-crossing and leg-crossing especially, after the publication of Julius Fast’s book Body Language. While these forms of nonverbal actions can specify feelings and attitude. Research suggests that body language is far more delicate than believed.
People often mention their need for “personal space” which, is an important kind of nonverbal communication. The total distance we want and the total space we observe is influenced by a sum of factors which includes social norms, cultural expectations, situational factors, personality characteristics, and level of familiarity. For instance, the total amount of personal space needed while having a casual discussion varies between 18 inches to 4 feet. On the contrary, the individual distance required when addressing a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.
6. Eye Gaze
Eye-Contacts hold an important place in nonverbal communication. Expressions like looking, staring and blinking are important nonverbal behaviors. When people come across other individuals/things they like, the degree of blinking increases leading to the dilation of pupils. Observing other people can show an array of emotions including hostility, interest, and attraction. People also apply eye gaze to determine if someone is being honest. Shifty eyes and instability in maintaining eye contact are frequently seen as a pointer that someone is lying or being deceptive.
Physical communication also falls under one of the most important forms of nonverbal behavior. An extensive amount of research on the significance of touch in infancy and early childhood has been done. Harry Harlow’s classic monkey study demonstrates how touch and contact impede development. Children who are deprived of the mother’s physical contact may experience a permanent discrepancy in behavior and social interaction. Touch is mainly used to express affection, familiarity, sympathy, and other emotions. In her writings in Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, Julie Wood has clearly explained the importance of touch as a means of depicting power and status. Findings show that high-status individuals enter other people’s personal space with higher frequency and intensity than lower-status individuals can! Sex differences also differentiate the utilization of touch to connect the appropriate meaning. A Women’s touch conveys care, concern, and nurturance. On the other hand, a Man’s touch is more likely to assert power or control.
Our clothing, hairstyle and other factors which affect our appearance is considered as a means of nonverbal communication. The research found out that that different colors can evoke different moods. Appearance can also modify physiological reactions, judgments, and interpretations. The first impression we make is really important, which is why experts advise that job seekers dress suitably for interviews with likely employers. Researches have also found that appearance plays a role in how people are distinguished and how much they gross. In 1996 a study found that attorneys who were rated as more striking earned nearly 15 percent more than those ranked as less attractive. Culture also becomes one of the important influences on how appearances are judged. While slenderness tends to be noticed in Western cultures, some African cultures relate stout bodies to better health, wealth, and social status.
Objects and pictures can also be used as tools to communicate non-verbally. In an online medium, you might pick an avatar to represent your personality and to connect information about who you are. People spend a great amount of time creating a specific image and surrounding themselves with objects intended to convey information about the things that are important to them. A specific type of clothing is used to transmit a great deal of time information about a person. Like soldiers donning fatigues and a doctor in a white coat with a stethoscope depicts their uniformity and profession. In short, having a glance at these outfits tell people what a person does for a living.
Role of Non-Verbal Communication…
Nonverbal communication holds an important role in conveying meaning, sharing information and how we infer the actions of people around us. The important things to think of when observing nonverbal actions is to study the actions in groups. What a person actually says with his/her expressions, appearance, and tone of voice tells a great deal about what that person is trying to convey through Non-verbal signs of attraction.
Research has shown that non-verbal behaviors constitute a large percentage of our interpersonal communication. How can we advance our nonverbal communicational skills? The following ideas can help us learn to read the nonverbal signals of other people and advance our ability to communicate effectively.
1. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Signals
People can share information in many ways, so be attentive to things like eye contact, gestures, posture/body movements and tone of voice. All these sings can bear some important information that can’t be put into words. By closely paying attention to other people’s unspoken behaviors, improvisation of our own ability to communicate non-verbally increases.
2. Concentrate on Your Tone of Voice When Speaking
The tone of voice can bear capital information, varying from enthusiasm to disinterest to anger. Start observing how your tone of voice influences others response towards you and try utilizing your tone to highlight your ideas that you want to share. An animated tone of voice shows a person’s involvement and enthusiasms in it. Such signals also help in generating interest in people listening to you speak.
3. Ask Questions About Nonverbal Signals
If you are perplexed about other person’s nonverbal signs, don’t be scared to ask questions. For instance, this can be “So what you are saying is that…”Many at times asking questions like these can be a great deal of precision to a situation.
4. Use Signals to Make Communication More Meaningful
Always verbal and nonverbal communication work together to convey a message. For instance, if you aim to be confident during presentations, you will have to focus on nonverbal signs that ensure whether others see you as assured and skilled. Standing firm with shoulder back and weight balanced on both feet is a great way to strike a confident posture.
5. Be Aware That Signals Can be Misread
A firm handshake always indicates a strong character while a weak handshake is taken as a lack of strength. This is an example that non-verbal can be misread like a flaccid handshake maybe due to arthritis. A person’s overall personality is far more than explaining in a single gesture viewed in seclusion.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice
Some people have a skill for using nonverbal communication effectively reading signs from others. These people are described as able to read people. In reality, this skill can be developed by paying attention to nonverbal patterns and practicing them with others. By doing so the communicative abilities can be developed.