Communication is the process of sharing information, ideas and feelings through the use of spoken (verbal), written, or gestures (non verbal). Along the way in the evolutionary process, where we gained in the areas of technology, education and travel, we’re somewhat lagging in the art of nonverbal communication. We’re trained to prefer words to communicate, often overlooking tell-tale nonverbal cue, which can range from a nod or a smile to a momentary frown and fist clench or a seemingly nonchalant shrug of the shoulders.
Research has proved over and again that 93% of communication is conducted nonverbally, of which 38% is through vocal tones ( the intensity and pitch) and another 55% is through ones facial expressions. Body language is the oldest language but its components are significantly varying across cultures and geographical boundaries. For instance, the “OK” gesture in the American culture is a symbol for money in Japan. The same gesture is obscene in some Latin American countries.
People are generally comfortable with others who have “body language” similar to their own. When one person’s nonverbal language matches that of another, there is increased comfort and the barriers in communication are significantly reduced. However, the communicating process can also be hampered by conflicting words. You could be saying one thing but your body would be telling the receiver something completely different. This discrepancy in verbal and nonverbal communication is the reason that causes confusion. Experts advise that when confronted with such a conflict, listen, but with your eyes!
The importance and impact of nonverbal communication cannot be stressed on enough. You can understand a person entirely just by reading his body language. He can give away his personality, his feelings, his fears, his perception of himself and of someone else, his leadership style – in short, all there is to a person are honestly communicated through the nonverbal signals he gives off.
Whether we choose to emphasize the former or the latter, the “silent language” is much louder than it first appears.
( 1 ) http://www.selectassesstrain.com/hint6.asp
( 2 ) Burgoon, J. K., Buller, D. B., & Woodall, W. G. (19996). Nonverbal Communication: The unspoken dialogue (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill