Communication refers to the process where information is exchanged between two or more people through a common system of symbols, signs, and behavior to create meaning (Lunenburg, 2010). Human communication is significant because it enables individuals to share sense with others. Non-verbal communication entails the procedure of transferring or receiving information via gestured messages. There are many ways of non-verbal communication, for instance, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, body posture, and touch. Another form of non-verbal communication includes object communication, which takes the form of clothing, symbols, and graphics.
Non-verbal skills can either break or make a conversation. This is because non-verbal communication is transferrable. There are two main elements involved in non-verbal communication. Firstly, communication has a specific form and function. Secondly, communication can fail to be translated. These two elements can make non-verbal communication skills to make or break a conversation. For instance, when individuals’ body language and facial expression differ with what comes out of their mouth because of aspects such as anger, mixed signals are involved in the communication, which break it. Wrong use of non-verbal signs also breaks a communication since the listener cannot understand what to conceptualize, for instance, trying to laugh with a frowning face.
Non-Verbal Communication tie to Listening Skills
According to research, verbal communication only accounts for 7% of communication while the rest entails non-verbal or symbolic communication, often referred to as listening skills (Yaffe, 2011). Listening is the dominant process of communication. In most cases, many people have misinterpreted hearing and listening. Hearing can at times be limited to verbal communication and it is a natural ability. Nevertheless, listening incorporates considerable skills, which are hearing and conceptualizing to derive meaning. Through effective listening, one is able to align the non-verbal signs that make meaning clear in communication. Listening skills, therefore, make one to have a deeper understanding of the non-verbal signs used in communication. For instance, in expressing a point, one can use nonverbal skills expression or gestures that affirm a given communication experienced through listening.
Non-verbal cues can influence communication in numerous ways. It is apparent that non-
verbal forms of communication, for instance, body posture, gestures, and eye contact play a significant role in deriving meaning. Furthermore, non-verbal communication can be applied alone or alongside verbal communication. In either form, the cues directly impact the communication message relayed in conversations. For instance, the cue adds value to the information or verbal messages. This is because the nonverbal cues are effective elements that emphasize, substitute or affirm the message. In some instances, they are used for clarification. For example, when a child commits a mistake and runs away, the parent becomes angry and agitated. To express the magnitude of the anger and the kind of discipline the parent can give to a child, nonverbal cues can be applied. This can be through verbal messages like “When I get hold of you” while holding fingers together and shaking hands. This cue can be applied to influence that kind of communication.
In conclusion, it is significant to note that good communication is the underpinning of any fruitful relationship, whether personal or professional. Therefore, it is imperative to understand that our non-verbal communication, for example, our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice speak the loudest. The aptitude to comprehend and use non-verbal communication or body language is a predominant tool that can benefit one to connect with others and express his/her points to establish better relationships.
Lunenburg, F. C. (2010). Communication: The process, barriers, and improving effectiveness. Schooling, 1(1), 1-11.
Segal, J., Smith, M., & Jaffe, J. (2011). Nonverbal communication: improving your nonverbal skills and reading body language. Helpguide. org. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/nonverbal-communication.htm
Yaffe, P. (2011). The 7% rule: fact, fiction, or misunderstanding. Ubiquity, 2011(October), 1.