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Non Verbal Communication Critical Essay

NON- VERBAL COMMUNICATION Non- verbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication.More than voice or even words, nonverbal communication cues you in to what is on another person’s mind.The best communicators are sensitive to the power of the emotions and thoughts communicated nonverbally.

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When individuals speak, they normally do not confine themselves to the mere emission of words. A great deal of meaning is conveyed by non-verbal means which always accompany oral discourse – intended or not.

In other words, a spoken message is always sent on two levels simultaneously, verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal behaviour predates verbal communication because individuals, since birth, rely first on non-verbal means to express themselves. This innate character of non-verbal behaviour is important in communication. Even before a sentence is uttered, the hearer observes the body gestures and facial expressions of the speaker, trying to make sense of these symbolic messages. They seem to be trustable because they are mostly unconscious and part of every-day behaviour.

People assume that non-verbal actions do not lie and therefore they tend to believe the non-verbal message when a verbal message contradicts it. This was proven in tests in which subjects were asked to react to sentences that appeared friendly and inviting when reading them but were spoken angrily. In short, people try to make sense of the non-verbal behaviour of others by attaching meaning to what they observe them doing. Consequently, these symbolic messages help the hearer to interpret the speaker’s intention and this indicates the importance of non-verbal communication in the field of interpretation.

In daily conversations it often happens that we do not understand what the other person wants to say. Thus we ask questions such as “What do you mean by this” so that the speaker clarifies his message. The interpreter is deprived of this possibility and therefore has to fall back on other means allowing him to understand the speaker. This is the moment when non-verbal communication comes in, giving him subtle hints on how the message is to be understood. From the speaker’s point of view, however, there are numerous functions of non-verbal behaviour – even if he or she is not aware of them.

Human beings use non-verbal means to persuade or to control others, to clarify or embellish things, to stress, complement, regulate and repeat verbal expressions. They can also be used to substitute verbal expression, as this is the case with several body gestures. Non-verbal communication is emotionally expressive and so any discourse appealing to the receiver’s emotions has a persuasive impact. Although many non-verbal means are innate and universal, (i. e. eople in different cultures have a common understanding of these cues), the contribution of non-verbal communication to the total meaning of a discourse can be culturally determined and differ in different countries. By some estimates, there are more than 200,000 nonverbal signs in human communication, and only 7 percent to 35 percent of communication is verbal. The nonverbal aspect of human communication is so important because it can convey complex thoughts better than words can — and also because it is an automatic behavior, and therefore much more difficult to control than speech.

Gestures:- {draw:frame} Gestures, like words, are a form of communication closely tied to culture and language. In fact, gestures are the nonverbal method closest to verbal communication, because there are specific meanings to the gestures. The fact that human physical expression is limited by our bodies’ capabilities means that gestures from different cultures can be similar in appearance. A body gesture is a movement made with a limb, especially the hands, to express, confirm, emphasize or back up the speaker’s attitude or intention. This non-verbal activity is regularly used in oral discourse.

If a body act requires no verbal accompaniment, it is called an “emblem”. Examples are: hand signals such as waving good-bye, the “V” for victory sign or the “high five” signalling victory. While some emblems, for example a clenched fist, have universal meaning, there are others that are idiosyncratic or culturally conditioned. The use of the zero shape made by the fingers, for instance, does not mean the same thing in different cultures. Standing for “OK” in the UK, it may be a vulgar expression in South American cultures, sometimes embarrassingly so… Body gestures are always perceived and interpreted together with facial expressions.

Facial Expression:- {draw:frame} Facial expressions are one of the more powerful methods of nonverbal communication. They can convey mood, emotional or physical state, or identity. For example, flight attendants are taught that passengers will be more accepting and less defensive, even during negative confrontations, if the attendants smile as they speak. Police use facial cues to detect substance abuse, or to read suspects for signs of lying. All humans have mannerisms that convey information to strangers (such as friendly or aloof), as well as personal expressions that become familiar and identifying to others who know them.

Nonverbal Communication with the Eyes {draw:frame} Eyes are particularly demonstrative in nonverbal communication. Besides conveying emotions, the pupils constrict when viewing something displeasing and dilate when viewing something pleasant. Eye contact is an important part of communication — good eye contact makes a person seem confident and credible. Touch is somewhat opposite of visual and audio cues in terms of how information is received, but the thousands of nerve endings in skin allow for things like pressure, temperature and texture to convey immense amounts of information.

Touch also creates a communicative bond, such as between a parent and an infant. Body Orientation Body orientation is communication by the way a person sits, stands, walks or generally holds herself in a situation. It can indicate friendship or unfamiliarity, feelings of like or dislike, or perceived social standing. (Feelings of inferiority can cause a person to be tense or rigid, while perceptions of superiority make a person relaxed and loose. ) Posture is frequently thought to convey general feelings about a person or situation, while facial expressions and specific bodily movements offer more specific information about a relationship.

Conclusion:- Non-verbal communication is not only crucial in a plain daily communication situation but also for the interpreter. Non-verbal communication can take various forms, each of which illustrates or replaces a certain part of the verbal communication. It includes many more elements than one might think at first. When interpreters are in a working situation where the audience will not see them, non-verbal communication can represent a problem. The udience might even be tempted to believe that the interpreters have not done a good job. In order to be able to work properly, interpreters need to make sense of non-verbal cues. This is only possible because a special part of our brain deals with the emotional part of the message. Not only intelligence but also emotional intelligence is needed for interpreting non-verbal elements. Whether non-verbal communication supports the interpreters in their task or presents a difficulty, it will always play an important role.

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