The Importance of Nonverbal Communication

One of the most crucial aspects of nonverbal communication is its ability to strengthen verbal communication. For example, if you tell your spouse you love him and then you follow up your oral communication with loving and endearing actions, the message of love is strengthened. On the contrary, if you tell your teenager not to smoke, yet you smoke in front of them daily, the verbal message and nonverbal message will contradict one another causing confusion and disbelief.

Provides Cues Nonverbal communication provides cues to other people to help guide or instruct him. For example, if a police officer is in the middle of an intersection and he faces his hand at your car, you know this means to stop. The nonverbal cue to stop could save your life and the lives of the other passengers on the road. Other cues in American society could be clapping hands, winking with the eye or a shrug of the shoulders. Clarifies Nonverbal communication clarifies the verbal message. This can be seen in a presentation.

The speaker is verbally communicating and uses nonverbal visual aids to help the listeners understand more effectively. A nonverbal aid in this situation can be a graph, chart or slide show. Incorporating nonverbal communication in an interpersonal or group conversation will provide greater clarity and comprehension. Creates Culture Whether a culture is created in a family or a corporation, it is the nonverbal communication that is responsible for it. In every relationship and group there are certain norms and expectations that are not verbally communicated.

Most of the time these rules of engagement are created through nonverbal expressions whether it is touch, time or gestures. Nonverbal communication can make a culture hostile, comforting or awkward. Adds Depth Nonverbal communication adds depth to verbal communication. This is seen in the expression of emotions. Emotions are a form of nonverbal communication that provides depth and greater meaning for an individual’s soul. For example, a person can give a speech with no emotion and lose the crowd or they can say the same speech with emotion behind it and captivate the audience. Importance of Nonverbal Communication Verbal and nonverbal communication are required for human communication. Both types of communication exist primarily on the concept of symbolic communication, and cannot be fully understood without considering the other. Language in communication is extremely powerful, as words can be used to shape culture, create meaning, classify individuals, and both clarify and confuse symbolic meaning.

Nonverbal communication, beyond its influence over verbal communication, is often the first type of communication expressed during a communication exchange. People begin to formulate understandings and opinions of others before they even hear them speak, and nonverbal communication expresses the information during early phases of interaction. Verbal and nonverbal communication are directly related, and understanding the power each style exerts over the entire communication process is key to effectively developing and executing quality communication strategies.

Every utterance is made up of both verbal and nonverbal components, making how you say something just as important as what you say. Nonverbal communication involves sending and receiving messages without the direct use of words. The wide variety of nonverbal communication channels and the unwritten rules for each make up a complex aspect of interpersonal communication. Modes Nonverbal communication may be conveyed through your general appearance and manner of dress, posture, facial expressions, body movements, eye contact, gestures and touch.

Paralanguage, another aspect of nonverbal communication, includes vocal characterizations such as laughing and burping, vocal segregates such as uh-huh, shhh or humm and vocal qualifiers including the pitch, volume, tone, tempo and rhythm of your words. Accent, pronunciation and fluency are aspects of paralanguage as well. Significance Nonverbal communication may repeat, complement or contradict the words you say. For example, when a speaker points to the west while giving a directive to walk two blocks west, her gesture conveys the same content as her words.

A parent may use a negative tone in order to complement the words in his reprimand to a child. A nonverbal cue such as a wink may contradict the positive words of message. Nonverbal communication can also be a substitute for a verbal message. If a person puts her finger to her lips, she is indicating a need for quiet without using any words. Considerations By understanding nonverbal communication, even if only implicitly, you will be able to communicate more effectively than you would without this knowledge.

You can be a better receiver of the messages others wish to convey, and you will be able to employ a variety of strategies to get your message across as well as to detect whether the message was properly understood. Misunderstandings Nonverbal communication is extremely culture-bound, opening up many opportunities for misunderstandings when people from different cultures are involved in an exchange. A single unit of nonverbal communication could have several different meanings depending on who is using it and who is interpreting it.

So, when you are interacting with people from a different background, it is wise to gain an awareness of some of the basic nonverbal communication patterns in that culture. You should also be hasty to confirm and clarify rather than rely on your assumptions. Training Children who lack nonverbal communication skills have difficulties getting along with other children. They may be sending messages they don’t intend or misinterpreting others’ nonverbal messages because they do not understand the unwritten rules for appropriate nonverbal behavior.

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