The Importance of Non-verbal Communication
Communication and its skills plays vital role and holds the key in all spheres of our life. Effective communication takes into account on the way we use effective words and sentences, and swiftness of deliverance of those words, its intonation and sign language we use. Effective use of proper tools to convey the proper messages at the right time can recover crises and encourage every one of us to work towards success.
To have clear crystal understanding, communication refers to the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meanings through verbal and non-verbal message. We see that it is merely the process of conveying information from one person to another person, but when we think of how we may communicate, then the subject becomes quite intricate. And two main complex categories of communication are verbal and non-verbal communication.
It is usually common to see that many people get confused between these two categories of communication; confused in the sense they think that verbal communication is used profoundly in our daily life and its knowledge are more important for us.
On the other hand I find that non verbal communication complements as well as supplements the spoken language where absence of any one of them will lead to misinterpretation of the message that we are suppose to convey. So in this essay, I have mostly highlighted on importance of knowledge of non-verbal communication in our daily life, and its equality with verbal communication.
First of all, it is important to make clear-cut distinction between verbal and non verbal communication. Then that would help us to recognize their respective vitality in our daily activity.
Verbal communication in short is a spoken communication. But in broader sense, it cover any form of communication involving words, spoken, written or signed. The news we read, the conversation we have with our friends, even the text message we send to our friends, etc., is a mode of verbal communication. What distinguishes us from animals is because of our skill to communicate with a language in organized usage of words, rather than just sounds. With the progress in the world, apart from language, the technology has come to its existence that enables us to communicate one another no matter what the physical distance is. For example, chatting with friends and video calling on face book, Skype etc.
We use verbal communication to impart knowledge and information clearly. It helps to solve misunderstandings and provides missing information. That means we can use verbal communication to correct wrong. For example, the words having influential or persuasive power such as, “I am sorry,” seems to be more effective than the action. That means we can also use verbal communication to persuading others. Verbal communication creates a chance for debate, stimulus thought and creativity, and depends and creates new relationships. “A species survival depends critically upon its ability to communicate effectively, and the quality of its social life is determined in large measure by how and what it can communicate.” ( Robert, 2002).
However, effective verbal or spoken communication is dependent on other modes of communication. If it’s completely isolated from other effective communication modes such as non verbal communication, listening skills, and clarification, we will face problem in conveying right message. In other way, aspects of non-verbal communication such as clarity of speech, staying silent and focused, being well-mannered will all help in the process of having effective verbal communication. Thus, secondly, understanding what is mean by non verbal communication and its equal importance to verbal communication is important as explained in the following paragraphs.
Non-verbal communication refers to all those messages excluding spoken words. Those messages are body language such as gesture, facial expressions, eye contact and body posture. For instance, smile on our friends face on seeing us, before they utter even a greeting word, when we go to meet them after long time indicates that he or she is happy to see us.
Touch is another cue of non-verbal communications. It helps in indicating a person’s feelings or expressions, closeness, and illustrates characteristics of that person. A firm and stiff handshake or warm and lovely hug signify obviously different than a loose one.
Never the less, the sound, pitch, tone and volume of our voice while we are communicating can also be referred as forms of non-verbal communication. Voice use intonation, tone and vocally produced sounds. We use the pitch of voice to differentiate whether the sentence is a command, or advice or else a question or statement, and whether it shows aggressiveness; meaning vocal sounds and tone project our expressions. For example: Shaky and low volume of our voice when we present something in the class or when we speak to any kind of gatherings indicate that he or she fear or is not confident enough to do so.
The clothing we wear and its colour are also other forms of non-verbal communication that commonly outline judgements among us depending on different cultures and custom. After all, we would find that non-verbal communication coexist alongside verbal communication, which can affect each other and aid each other in delivering right thoughts and ideas through interpersonal communication.
Importance of non-verbal communication
Firstly, we can say that non-verbal communication is important in expressing our emotions. Emotions such as happy, satisfied, confident, surprised, eager, tired, stressed, sad etc. These are almost all expressed through different body gestures and face. We are able to understand each other up on judging each other’s expression. For example if someone cries, it indicate that something has happened to him or her and others will be able to help it. Non-verbal gestures are what our recipients see in the first place, even before a single word is heard. These figurative messages can be a visual sign of feeling, but our words convey a different message. Using non-verbal cues help in expressing meaning, to navigate complicated state of affairs and build strong relationship for us at home or work. Thus, expression of the face becomes basic mode of non-verbal communication among people.
Secondly, it plays vital role in communicating interpersonal relationships. Through interpersonal communication we can establish trust in relationships and help determine a person’s fidelity. And these are possible only through using verbal and non-verbal communication mode. Interpersonal communication includes communications that occurs with our words and through our tone of voice, posture and facial expressions. It is also found by many researchers that non-verbal interpersonal communication like body language may communicate 93 percent of our attitudes and beliefs. We use language in verbal communication to communicate precise messages. Non-verbal communication involves any other information that we send and receive from others including our body language, eye contact or how we say a particular message. So, this also indicates that non-verbal is equally important as verbal in our daily life.
Thirdly, non-verbal communication is main supporter of verbal interaction. Infect they supplement each other and give full meaning. Because non-verbal communication can repeat the spoken message: contradict the message that individual is trying to convey; emphasize the message, substitute or complement meaning to make it understand clearly. For example, when the class teacher comes across his student with frowning face seeking permission to take rest, he would immediately grant permission because he saw how much the student was suffering not only by hearing the reason, but more by judging students facial expression. This is also another prove that prove equal importance of non-verbal communication to verbal communication.
Fourthly, non-verbal communication also reflects individual’s personality. “Personality is the entire mental organization of a human being at any stage of his development. It embraces every phase of human character: intellect, temperament, skill, morality, and every attitude that has been built up in the course of one’s life.” (Warren & Carmichael, 1930, p. 333). So according to the above definition personality concerns the most vital, obvious parts of an individual’s psychological life: it concerns whether a person is sad or happy, lethargic or active, brainy or tedious. And these are all aspects of non-verbal communication because we are able to define person’s personality through judging their facially expressed emotions and behaviours. For example, my friend wouldn’t tell all his personality orally. However, more than that, I will come to know his detail personality upon judging his daily behaviours and emotional expression. Therefore, this shows that nonverbal communication speaks more than verbal communication in our life.
Lastly, nonverbal communication plays greater role in performing rituals such as greetings and goodbyes. The smile we smile as soon as we see someone we recognize from distant itself tells a lot about importance of non verbal communication. Similarly, waving our hand indicating good bye is another example of non verbal communication. None the less, nodding or shaking our head indicates accepting or refusing when others tell something or offers something. These are some of the details about how non-verbal communication interacts with verbal communication through the process of reinforcement, contradiction, and substitution, complementing or emphasizing.
Moreover, body language symbols and signs possess more than one meaning. These different meaning can be applied accordingly to the context and culture of different society. Non-verbal communication is not easily understandable and it is quite confusing because it is not exact and universal in every society. But body language plays pivotal role and it essential.
In addition, researchers of interpersonal communication have found that only 7% of the attitudinal meaning of message comes from words and other 93% comes from non-verbal signal. Indeed non-verbal gestures and signs use occurs early in life, before speaking your first words, to convey specific needs to our parents. As we grow older, our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact and even or voice tone helps us transfer messages to the recipient. So, by going through all this proves we can conclude that non-verbal communication shares equal importance with verbal communication. Infect, I find that former one is more important than later one.
Why do we need to be aware about our daily non-verbal cues?
I feel that knowing only the importance of non-verbal communication is not enough, but at the same time we should need to know, and be aware of some of the non-verbal signs in this globalized world where interactions and exchange of cultures and customs takes place. We need to be mindful of cultural differences when using or interpreting non-verbal signs. For instance, the handshake that is widely accepted in Western cultures as a greeting or confirmation of a business deal may not be accepted in other cultures, and can cause confusion.
While direct eye contact are acceptable in western culture which indicate our confidence, but this may not be moral in some other parts of world like in Japanese culture. By being mindful of our own nonverbal cues, as well as the nonverbal cues of those around us, and by keeping our messages short and concise would be very important to keep in our mind.
So, upon knowing the facts and reasons about importance of non-verbal communication, we should take consideration both verbal and non-verbal equally while communicating in our daily life. Our every day success depends upon our capability to communicate effectively, both verbally and non-verbally. Verbal and non-verbal communication actually defines our interactions and our relationships with others, and portrays physical and psychological well-being of a person. Therefore, understanding the different forms and aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication, and its vitality in playing roles during any kind of daily interactions is the first step to enhancing positive communication and nurturing relationships. To sum up, these statistics and proves indicates that non-verbal communication is also equally important to verbal communication in this real world.