Communication is the backbone of human existence. Without it we would be nothing more than organized matter. It has allowed us to grow, learn, build, and survive. The fact that our species has managed to develop advanced methods of communication, such as language, is what has set us aside from other animals. When we talk to another person we are sending a message which is received, decoded, and responded to accordingly. But there is much more to communication than just its verbal aspects. The way we hold ourselves, tone of voice, bodily gestures, eye movement, all of these are types of nonverbal communication and are in truth more important to the communication process than language itself.
According to Adler, Proctor II, and Towne's Looking Out Looking In, nonverbal communication is defined as "messages expressed by other than linguistic means". This type of message delivery is as complex if not more so than its linguistic counterpart. Non verbal messages are what shape the meaning of delivered dialogue and give it context. Without them the communication process would be severely impaired if not totally destroyed.
There are several different components that make up the whole of nonverbal communication. Kinesics is the movement and positioning of the body and how it is interpreted by a receiver. This includes many of the more obvious nonverbal cues such clapping your hands or a thumb up. Oculesics refers to eye contact and eye positioning during communication. Averting ones eyes is a cue that, depending on context, could show respect, shame, or nervousness. Haptics is the act of physical contact to display an emotion. A punch, a kiss, and a pat on the back all portray meaning without the need for words. Arguably the most important nonverbal cue is paralanguage. Paralanguage is the non-word utterances used in moments of emotion that can occur by themselves or as a particular emphasis on a word or syllable.
The importance of nonverbal communication...
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