From the way we dress to the way we move, our nonverbal signals can reveal a great deal about our emotions, perceptions and intentions. When a person is talking or listening, he sends continuous messages consciously or unconsciously through his body movements, such as the way he holds his head, the angle at which he hold his body, his movements of limbs and his changing facial expressions. This kind of communication in which no verbal language is used comes under the category of non verbal communication.
According to Knapp & Hall (2002) non verbal communication refers to communication that is produced by some means other than words, e. g. , eye contact, body language or vocal cues.
The significance of nonverbal communication, in establishing interpersonal relationships, is far greater than any one can think of. According to experts, a substantial portion of our communication is nonverbal. On the basis of its effect nonverbal communication can be classified under following three categories. 1. POSITIVE NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION – Positive nonverbal messages puts the other person at ease.
When a person expresses an open and positive attitude towards the person with whom he is interacting, it creates a supportive and collaborative atmosphere.
Use of positive non-verbal communication helps a person to become more effective and successful. It significantly affects the level of interpersonal relationship. It also determines the overall impression people form about a person. There are several types of positive non verbal indicators. For example turning face to the sender, leaning slightly forward towards him indicate that he is interested. , Nodding to express understanding, smiling or touching the person gently are other types of positive non verbal cues.
The eye contact is most effective non verbal cue to achieve the goal of gaining someone’s trust. The way one uses his body and limbs, his eyes and face, will have a major influence on how his non verbal messages are perceived. 2. NEGATIVE NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION – Sometimes non verbal body movements, gestures and facial expressions generate disinterest & distrust. It creates a state of confusion on the part of the receiver. The type of communication which comes under the above category is known as negative nonverbal communication. Negative nonverbal messages hampers collaborative and supportive environment.
To ensure effective communication one must avoid giving such type of cues. Staring or gazing at other can create pressure and tension between the receiver and the sender. Negative facial expression, shifty eyes, too much blinking suggest deception Eyebrow muscle draws the eyebrows down and toward the center of the face if someone is annoyed. Talking to someone without maintaining the eye contact is distracting and often interpreted as insulting. If a person keeps talking on phone or keeps working on the computer during the conversation, it shows that he is not interested. 3.
NEUTRAL NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION –This is the type of nonverbal communication which have neither positive or negative effect on the receiver. The type of body movements , postures and tone which have neutral effect on the receivers feelings and emotions comes under this category. It is very difficult to label any non verbal cue as neutral. People attach meaning even to a neutral message. During listening one rarely can stay silent for long, silence in some instances may be treated as neutral non verbal communication. If it lasts more than for 5-6 seconds then it turns into a negative cue.
Sounds like ‘Mmm’, ‘Ah’ and ‘Hmmm’ when used in a neutral way invite learner to continue talking. CONCLUSION – Sending clear nonverbal messages and understanding correctly the message send by someone, largely depends upon the way how you are perceiving the total situation, and the person with whom you are communicating. Your mind set and the environment in which the communication is taking place also determine how you interpret and react to the non verbal messages. Interpretation of the messages depends upon past experiences,feelings, attitude and socio cultural background of the receiver.
Communication can be misperceived if the source and the receiver does not share common experiences and common frame of reference.
REFERENCES Knapp,M. L & Hall, J. A (2002) Non Verbal Communication in Human Interaction, Crawfordsville, IN : Thompson Learning Smith,T. E, & Gartin B. C, Murdick, N. L, &Hilton,A (2006) : Positive Indicator Of Non Verbal Communication Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall retrieved on 13th May,2010 Windle,R & Warren, S Communication Skills retrieved on 13th May 2010 from http://www. directionservice. org/cadre/section4. cfm