Non Verbal Communication

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SLMtitle.png Non-Verbal Communication

SLMinto.png Introduction
Imagine yourself in a classroom, attending a lecture. You are unable to pay attention in spite of trying to do so, the reason being, you woke up late, skipped breakfast, missed your regular transport to your institute ,in short it’s not your day. To add to it, the fight with hunger pangs that distract you from the first lecture onwards. You find yourself un usually restless , unable to pay attention ,thus resorting to slouching on the desk, scribbling on your notebook instead of taking lecture notes, and intermittently doodling away to glory, also at the same time try to “ look” interested, and nod as if you follow every word the teacher has uttered. To add to your woes ,the hawk eyed/seasoned teacher, chooses you to recapitulate the entire lecture for the class and you are left with no option but apologize and hang your head down in shame as you are unable to do so. Why does the teacher single you out to recapitulate? Does she do it with the intention of sending across the message that she can see through your attention paying garb /posture? How does she actually come to know that you are actually not paying attention? Are you a poor actor or is she a better judge? The answer to all these questions, very simply put is -non-verbal cues .The trained eye of the teacher catches all non – verbal signals i. e your slouching ,scribbling ,your forced nodding of head in affirmation when not required, after gathering these cues ,she purposely puts you in a tight spot ,so that you do not repeat the same behaviour. This example explains how useful non-verbal communication is in correcting behaviour. One can play around with words - but the same is not always possible with non-verbal communication.

SLMobj.png Learning Objectives
After reading this chapter, you are expected to learn about:
To explain the concept of non-verbal communication.
                    To expose students to different   types of   non-verbal communication.
                    To provide tips on adopting situation appropriate non-verbal   signals.

Nature and Scope of Economics

{{: Simply put non-verbal communication takes place in the absence of words (written or/and oral).Thus non - verbal communication is communication, by using means other than that which is usually used i.e language(written/spoken).Communication researchers have found that non - verbal cues have more impact in conveying meaning than verbal content. The example mentioned above proves this adequately(the teacher, could quickly identify on the basis of non –verbal signals who was paying attention or otherwise) .In fact ,non- verbal communication is so vital to business communication, that many pro- active organisations try to train their employees to understand it.SLMsection}}

{{:Characteristics of non- verbal communication: 1 Non-verbal communication emanates from the sub conscious, therefore is persuasive and continuous- Unless one is life less one keeps exhibiting non- verbal cues continuously and seldom knowingly. It is possible to stop communicating verbally, but an abrupt halt in communication is indicative that something is surely amiss. Example : It is easy to delineate on the basis of non- verbal communication ,whom you are comfortable with in a group of people and with whom you are not on the basis of subtle non- verbal cues like eye contact ,less consciousness of one’s physical self and mind you, often ,all these non-verbal signals are spontaneous and not studied. Of course, once we learn more about non-verbal communication ,we can be more aware of it and use it consciously, to make verbal communication effective. 2 Non – verbal cues are` real’ therefore reliable- It is said that only part of what we tell those around us is conveyed by the spoken word, rest is loudly put across through actions. When there is a mismatch between verbal and non – verbal cues then we tend to believe non-verbal cues .This is because it is difficult to feign non-verbal cues. It is for instance, very easy to identify a student trying to lie and excuse himself for coming late to class, through the speed of speech ,that is too fast,there is more blinking of eyelids and generally gestures are more defensive. As Sigmund Freud said,`` No mortal can keep a secret .If his lips are silent , he talks with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.” 3 Non –verbal cues communicate subjective responses: Non –verbal cues generally communicate myriad emotions and feelings across the spectrum, ranging from anger, dislike, hatred, love, disgust, fear and so on, in response to a particular situation. Objective ideas or concepts cannot be conveyed through non-verbal channels ,for instance the Theory of Relativity ,cannot be explained only by using non-verbal cues .On the other hand, an extra lecture on the Theory of Relativity can evoke a series of emotions ranging from relief to boredom ,which can be clearly expressed through non- verbal behaviour. 4 Non –verbal cues make speech more meaningful as they supplement speech -Very often we regulate the flow of conversation non-verbally by raising an index finger , nodding and leaning forward, raising eyebrows and changing eye contact. In fact, use of gestures comes so naturally to us that even while speaking over the phone, we tend to use gestures and facial expressions as if the other person is present bang in front. 5 Non –verbal cues can substitute speech-If students start murmuring loudly in the library,a raised index finger on lips by the librarian, in the students direction, is enough to hush the murmur. 6 Non-verbal cues could also contradict speech-Shakespeare has said, ‘’ Smile ,smile and still be a villain”. Outwardly , you may congratulate your colleague on his promotion, but your facial expressions betray your speech. 7 Non –verbal cues could often be vague- Non-verbal cues could at times be difficult to understand. The variety of non-verbal cues available makes it difficult to classify them. Some times , meanings that are not intended at all are conveyed. For instance, very often when we try to catch someone’s eye, by waving our hand in a crowded hall, some other person waves back at us assuming that we are waving at him, here, the friendly gesture was not meant for the stranger. In contrast, people fail to exhibit non-verbal cues when they experience some emotion strongly-they cannot just express-they go blank ,a student who gets to know that she has topped a crucial exam is just stunned after looking at the results for a while.


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