Non- verbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication. More than voice or even words, nonverbal communication cues you in to what is on another person’s mind. The best communicators are sensitive to the power of the emotions and thoughts communicated nonverbally.
When individuals speak, they normally do not confine themselves to the mere emission of words. A great deal of meaning is conveyed by non-verbal means which always accompany oral discourse – intended or not. In other words, a spoken message is always sent on two levels simultaneously, verbal and non-verbal.
Non-verbal behaviour predates verbal communication because individuals, since birth, rely first on non-verbal means to express themselves. This innate character of non-verbal behaviour is important in communication. Even before a sentence is uttered, the hearer observes the body gestures and facial expressions of the speaker, trying to make sense of these symbolic messages. They seem to be trustable because they are mostly unconscious and part of every-day behaviour. People assume that non-verbal actions do not lie and therefore they tend to believe the non-verbal message when a verbal message contradicts it. This was proven in tests in which subjects were asked to react to sentences that appeared friendly and inviting when reading them but were spoken angrily. In short, people try to make sense of the non-verbal behaviour of others by attaching meaning to what they observe them doing. Consequently, these symbolic messages help the hearer to interpret the speaker’s intention and this indicates the importance of non-verbal communication in the field of interpretation. In daily conversations it often happens that we do not understand what the other person wants to say. Thus we ask questions such as “What do you mean by this” so that the speaker clarifies his message. The interpreter is deprived of this possibility and therefore has to fall back on... [continues]
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