Communication through Gestures and Facial Expressions
Nonverbal communication can be defined as the transfer of messages without the use of words. It uses physical movement; such as hand gestures and body language, and also facial expressions; for example, eye contact, frowning, and smiling. Marta Dynel defines nonverbal (NVC) communication as:
While in broad definitions NVC includes any kind of non-verbal messages (or non-verbal signs) proper to informative processes, more narrow definitions restrict it to non-language (or better non-linguistic) phenomena that are interrelated — often in an intricate way — with verbal language and can be found in interactive or communicative processes. ...view middle of the document...
Nonverbal gestures and expression go hand in hand with spoken words. For example, even when using the telephone, one may find themselves using hand gestures when the receiver can only hear the speaker’s voice. However, nonverbal communication can also stand alone. For example, in a setting where speaking may be prohibited, such as a meeting in a workplace; nonverbal gestures and/or expressions can still be utilized as a form of communication.
Nonverbal communication can also effectively portray emotions without being accompanied by words. Facial gestures such as smiling or frowning can convey a person’s mood or how they feel or react to certain information. Hand gestures such as the “ok” sign and “thumbs up” are know nationwide as symbols of success, praise, or compliance.
Why People use Nonverbal Communication
People today may use nonverbal communications for several different reasons. The meaning of a words is limited to its definition, whereas gestures and expressions can add emphasis and emotion to spoken words. They can show the speakers true feelings, and therefore, are more genuine and personal.
Nonverbal communication can also be used in situations where speaking would be inappropriate. Society and law limits on what can be said. However, nonverbal gestures can always be used to commuincate thoughts where words cannot.
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Human beings use nonverbal communication everyday. We respond to messages through many nonverbal cues, such as: posture, facial expressions, eye contact, and bodily gestures (Subramani 2010). Eye contact is perhaps one of the most important forms of nonverbal communication. Direct eye contact is a powerful form of nonverbal communication. It can reveal intense emotion from the sender and/or the receiver, as well as self-confidence and comprehension of what is being communicated.
Body language and posture can convey a lot of information. A person’s physical posture can communicate an immense diversity of messages (Subramani 2010). For example, if an employee is slouching in their chair at a meeting, their body language is showing they are not interested and have little or no desire to be at the meeting. Inversely, if the same employee would sit up straight and lean forward, they would now be showing interest of what is being said and wanting to take part in the meeting.
Pacing back and forth is a form of body language. It may not communicate a specific message, but it does show emotion. Many people tend to pace back and forth when speaking publicly. They do so unknowingly as a result of being nervous. Pacing may also show that a person is unneasy and anxious. For example, a person may pace back and forth in the waiting room at a hospital or doctor’s office if they have a loved one undergoing major surgery.
The human face is very expressive and able to show many different emotions with different expressions. Verbal...