I am of an opinion that nonverbal communication plays a vital role and should be added to our emotion communication toolbox. Nonverbal communication makes up almost 65 to 95 percent of our communication. The best of the actors get recognition from crowd for their mastering of the skill of nonverbal language. Their eyes speak, their body language communicates on screen more than their dialogues.
In our life, it is not always what we are saying, our eyes, our hands, and our posture says much more. Often, the silence speaks the loudest. A slight compressing and lifting of the corner of the lip can send a message of scorn or skepticism. The rate of blinking eyelids can suggest interest, aggression, or distress. Our body scent, what we are wearing, and our posture all send messages and are interpreted by people in differently.
Subconsciously, we all send out nonverbal communication through our body, voice, face, and our exterior look. Nonverbal behaviors spring from our attitudes, cultural upbringing, and are reactions to things we deem to be important to our well-being either in a positive or negative way. Our face does the majority of nonverbal communication through facial expressions. Some facial expressions are just random muscle movement without meaning which only serve to confuse the people. However, facial expressions associated with surprise, fear, happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, and contempt which are universally recognized. When used appropriately, they inform the listeners what we are feeling at any given moment. Some facial reactions are also used for punctuating words or phrases, such as raising eyebrows to comment on how big something really was or is, or how minute or useless something is.
Our hand movements express some kind of thought or process of thinking which are called gestures. Some gestures occur with speech, such as using our fingers when counting out loud or perhaps to emphasize a word or phrase. Other gestures like pointing or waving are recognizable without words. Gestures are expressed primarily with hands, nodding the head, shrugging the shoulder, forwarding the upper body, or even a frown.
Our voice sometimes differs from the actual words that we speak; this refers to as Para-linguistics. This includes tone of voice, volume, inflection, and pitch. It can also include yawns, laughs, grunts, and pauses. Have you ever pondered on the powerful effect your tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence? Our tone of voice has a stronger impact on listeners which they interpret as approval, enthusiasm or neglect. When we speak hesitantly, the tone conveys lack of interest or confidence.
The amount of distance we need and the amount of space we perceive as belonging to us is referred to as proxemics. The amount of space we need to move ahead and behind or sideward is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, situational factors, personality characteristics, and level of familiarity. People misunderstand too much of closeness or too much of farness.
Looking, staring, and blinking, glaring also known as eye gaze is an important nonverbal cue. An increase in the blink rate for no apparent reason sends a clear message that you are either not prepared, not connected, or experiencing high anxiety. When we touch or hold hands with someone, it communicates our feelings, our warmth, our aloofness everything. Communicating through touch is known as haptics.
And finally, our appearance in terms of our choice of color of clothing and accessories, hairstyles, and other factors affects how we carry ourselves. Appearance can also alter physiological reactions, judgments, and interpretations. Just think of all the subtle judgments we quickly make about someone based on his or her appearance. The first impression we make is important and lasting.
Our associations with others depends more on non verbal communication; if they are to be strong and lasting, we need to strengthen it. I think, non-verbal communication comes from deep inside what we are. The quality of our relationships can be improved if we can skillfully read people, and understand the emotions behind their words. When one party receives mixed signals, the trust can strengthen or weaken in the relationships. At times it can be damaged. Trust can be created in a relationship by sending non verbal clues that match our words. The way we respond to someone nonverbally can show our understanding and how much we care about somebody.
I want to conclude the article with one of the best examples of nonverbal communication in movies: Ek Ruka Hua Faisla ( एक रुका हुआ फैसला ) a Bollywood film of 1986, directed by Basu Chatterjee, which was a remake of the Golden Bear winning, American motion picture 12 Angry Men (1957), which was directed by Sidney Lumet. It’s a sentimental yet starkly realistic movie. The best part of the movie is a lot of nonverbal communication by the actors. The movie portrays gamut of emotions in the characters of all twelve juries and most of it through their body language.