Blogging…one day at a time

Body language and nonverbal communication are a huge part when it comes to interacting with others. Talking is only a fraction of the conversation, listening is also very important. It is so much easier to understand the message that the sender is sending in person rather than on the phone, email, or text message. It happens when people are in a disagreement, where in person they could be standing with arms crossed or fists clenched. Or when people are expressing words of gratitude, they could be reaching out to hold hands with very forward body language. Certain gestures likes these are unfeasible when the conversation is email, phone, or text. While the phone helps to hear the tone of voice and emotions, it doesn’t allow the people to read each others faces or body.

According to the Changing Minds site, “Nonverbal communication has a significant effect on what is communicated.” It comes to people so naturally to wear their emotions, feelings, or intentions on their sleeves. We use our heads to motion a direction or tilt in confusion. One thing I found interesting about the Changing Minds site is that nonverbal communication can even be generated by the material items possessed by the person, be it their clothing, car, items on their desk at work. It is so easy to go through the motions of the day and experience hundreds of different types of nonverbal language and body language. In a communication study done by Alfred Mehrabian, in which they studied people listening to certain words in different tones. The study concluded the formula that communication is 7% verbal, 38 % vocal (tone of voice), and 55% facial (i.e. the body language).

People experience so much nonverbal communication and body language comes from relationships. According to Helping Guide, “Nonverbal communication cues can play five roles: repetition, contradiction, substitution, contemplating, accenting.” For example, when a boss complements one of their employees on a job well done, the extra nonverbal communication comes in the form of a pat on the back. A good way for a person to really work to read nonverbal cues is in the beginning of a relationship when getting to know someone. When first meeting someone, that person who is interested will want to pick up on their regular gestures and expressions, trying to understand their normality.

Nonverbal communication cues can definitely help when a person is lying. According to Mind Tools, there are many typical signs when a person lies, such as, “Eyes maintain little or no contact, or there may be rapid eye movement, hands or fingers are in front of the mouth when speaking, body may be physically turned away, breathing rate increases, complexion changes, perspiration increases, and a change in voice.” Little signs like these start to show when a person who is trying to lie becomes uneasy in their speech.

A good, first hand example of nonverbal cues was a little disagreement I had with my boyfriend this afternoon. When we first began talking, our motions were at ease. However, when the argument escalated my arms became tense, kind of like a way of defense. Also, we readjusted the way we were sitting to be angled away and further apart. When he got frustrated, I could hear him let out deep breathes, and could see him roll his eyes. When we reconciled the argument, both of us let the stiffness in our composure subdue. Something like this is not what people normally think about unless looking at it from the outside or looking back on a situation.


Comments on: "Sometimes things don’t have to be said at all…" (1)

  1. Hi Sarah – I think that nonverbal communication is such an interesting topic. I love learning more about it and trying to pick up on other people’s nonverbal cues. I think it helps to learn about the impact of nonverbal communication so that we can be more aware of our own nonverbal cues and prevent ourselves from sending out negative messages; especially in an interview setting. It’s good that you were able to pick up on your changing nonverbal signals as well as your boyfriend’s during your argument. I think that if we can learn to recognize the nonverbal messages we’re sending out to the people that we’re most comfortable with, then we’ll be better able to control those messages when we are in situations with people that we are less comfortable around (i.e. a potential employer).

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