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Nonverbal communication theory and application

Introduction

A good and appropriation communication enhances to a congenial environment in work place, family and in society. In fact communication depicts and reveals true personality and character of a person depending on the jargon, demeanor and etiquette displayed at every level of life style. Education plays a very important role to develop and train a person in cognitive and communicative approach. It is an acceptable fact that beginning from school level till doctorate level of education, nothing holds good above good communication, presentation [i.e. reproducing in writing]  and negotiation whichever is applicable as time permits. As it is rightly said that when a person is speaking, attention is 40 percent on communication and 60 per cent is on body language.

What is nonverbal communication?

The study of nonverbal communication discusses about a variety of topics. Broadly kinesics (study of bodily gestures) and proxemics (study of personal zones and boundaries) are of prominent nature in order to maintain a system of nonverbal communication.

For instance if tears are flowing out of eyes, it could be either out of happiness or sorrow which is very difficult to find out. To find the reason, it is required to communicate.  Therefore, the study of nonverbal communication is

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very effective and requires excessive efforts to practice and implement the same. There are also probabilities of sending a negative message or an inclination of embarrassment for every wrong move that is made through body language. Nonverbal communication is made through eyes, facial expressions and personal zone areas, each conveying a symbolic message for every bodily movement.

Importance of nonverbal communication

Ekman and Friesen (1969) have developed a classification system wherein five types of body  movements which communicate differently for every movement. viz., Emblems,  illustrators, affect displays, regulators and adaptors.

Nonverbal communication sends powerful messages for every positive and negative gesture.  For e.g. a frown or a raise of eyebrow sends a message of ‘why’ or ‘oh!’ . At this stage it is very important for a mentor to clarify such queries communicated nonverbally from personal zone areas. Nonverbal communication is to be understood primarily only by signs and symbols and queries have to be replied or clarified instantly. In interviews, a firm handshake is an indication of a confident person and a good posture of seating, placing hands comfortably on lap is also another indication that interviewee is quite honest and confident.

Significance of nonverbal communication in meeting

In terms of cultural differences, when nonverbal communication cues meet or match, it evokes interrelationships, in spite of different cultural backgrounds. Also in meetings, nonverbal codes convey meanings for every symbol.

[1] kinesics : bodily messages sent via gestures made by facial expression, body movement, gaze [eye contact]

[2] vocalics : nonverbal cues such as volume, pitch, pause or silence.

[3] physical appearance : cues related to apparel, makeover, cosmetics and fragrance.

[4] haptics : contact cues such as handshake etc.,

[5] proxemics: interpersonal distance, territoriality and space maintenance relations.

[6] chronemics : usage of time as a message system.

[7]  artifacts : usage of objects such as pets, furniture designs that reflects messages.

Conclusion

Proper messaging takes place only through accurate eye contact in nonverbal communication.  Focusing on any other area other than eyes may cause a difficult situation for both communicator and recipient in nonverbal communication. Considering the delicacy of nonverbal communication, it is important to rehearse nonverbal communication methods [e.g. interviews, meetings] prior to its actual conducting of the same. Also appropriate distance has to be maintained in nonverbal communication. However, some of the general and acceptable norms of nonverbal communications are a smile, a nod, friendly handshake and a direct eye contact all through the meeting. While a meeting is being conducted, it is inappropriate to look by the sides of other attendees of meeting as a mark of discipline and respect apart from a cross-legged seating.

The functioning of expression has to be acceptable and admirable by attendees in a meeting which brings a healthy culture and work environment among all and in fact it enhances, further discussions and resolutions of every aspect that is required to be attended in a meeting. Ambiguous gestures,  hesitant or non-conforming facial expressions would leave a negative impact on an individual lowering self-respect.

Conclusively, a best practice of nonverbal communication would be to put forward requests or queries in writing after a meeting which will be understood in totality and conveys message in a proper manner without leaving scope for any wrong conclusions.  However, adhering to the practice of best code of nonverbal communication prevails at all times in all places for all individuals.

References

Angela Hein Ciccia, Mary Step, and Lyn Turkstra,

Nonverbal communication theory and application

accessed on 29 December, 2006

http://asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/2003/q4/f031216a.htm

Nonverbal communication

accessed on 29 December, 2006

http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Sloan-School-of-Management/15-281Spring2004/BE8A9AEB-CBBC-4A61-A473-8FF4B143C151/0/nonverbal.pdf

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