What is Non-verbal communication - a world of signals?

Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication is the set of signals sent by the body which has always been the object of attention because it is considered an inexhaustible source of information on the behavior and intentions of others. It should be specified that, compared to simple words, non-verbal communication is faster, less aware, and less controllable and adjustable, because it is innate and not mediated by the rational filters of thought. These aspects make it an element of essential importance in interactions since it has been shown that it intervenes almost entirely in the process by which first impressions are formed on others.

Furthermore, the famous experiments carried out by Albert Mehrabian in 1972 at UCLA show that observing the flow of daily interactions with others, they are composed of:

- Non-verbal communication, with an incidence of 55% on the transmission of the message.

- Paraverbal communication (e.g., tone, speed, timbre, the volume of voice), with an incidence of 38%.

- Verbal communication, with an impact of only 7%.

So words are not enough to convey what you want to communicate with others and, in fact, much more relevant elements influence and interfere in this process. Indeed, the research shows that the data reveals that those who know how to read, interpret, and adequately recognize the signals of non-verbal communication play important roles of power. So understanding and reacting appropriately to the signs shown by the body of the interlocutor, gives an invaluable advantage such as anticipating the behavior and responses of others.

What are the most indicative signs of non-verbal communication?

- Crossed legs and arms are typically a sign of closure. They suggest that the interlocutor - in the grip of both a physical and mental block - is not open to the messages that are being communicated to him.

- The smiles show that you can lie, even smiling. The real smile is accompanied by eye movements, which, describing the small angles around them, they form wrinkles, the so-called "crow's feet"; if these wrinkles do not accompany the smile, it can only be fake (fake smile).

- The posture is revealing the role that assumes interaction. An upright posture emphasized by broad gestures reveals a rigid and set state, typical of those who must maintain a certain "degree" of power and distance from others. On the contrary, a relaxed or excessively soft posture can signal disinterest in the context.

- The proximity or the distance from the interlocutor - what is defined as proxemics - reveals the degree of knowledge and familiarity. A smaller distance denotes intimacy and knowledge of the other, a greater distance symbolizes the formality of a relationship.

- The gestures directed towards the other and typical to accompany verbal communication such as pointing with your gaze. It directs the attention of the interlocutor on what you are saying. At the same time, those aimed at you (for example, fiddling with fingers, rings, or necklaces) reveals embarrassment.

- Different elements of the face are involved in non-verbal communication, and each facial expression (micro-expression) has a different meaning. For instance, the eyebrows, if they rise repeatedly, show discomfort that reveals fear, worry, surprise; the tight jaw indicates an intense concentration on oneself and, consequently, strong stress; the wrinkled forehead means stress or, otherwise, a bad predisposition towards the other.

- Distance from others is crucial if you want to send the right signals. If you are very close, you can be labeled "aggressive" or " intrusive.” If you are very far away, you may seem “detached " or "cold." Note also if you get very close to someone if this person moves away if so you have probably entered too much in his comfort zone.

- The hand gestures are so numerous that it is difficult to give a short guide. Instead of constantly shaking hands while you are talking, try using hand gestures to emphasize what you are saying; this will make you appear more confident in what you are saying, and you will look more spontaneous. To facilitate this, you can use illustrative movements.

- The position of the head can convey the degree of confidence you have in yourself. Keeping your head up high will not only make you feel more confident but, due to the close connection between posture and emotional state, it will also help make you feel that way. In addition, this position will help you be taken more seriously by giving you more authority.

- A little-known trick is to tilt your head just a little bit on one side while you are listening to convey feelings of friendliness and sweetness

- This potion is reminiscent of that of puppies. And you know what sensations these convey

- Finally, there is no mistaking who, following the saying, believes that “the eyes are the mirror of the soul." If you can lie with gestures, words, and a smile, it is impossible with your eyes. In fact, different signs influence communication through the gaze, such as the eye-opening (the greater the eye-opening, the greater the attention and, conversely, the smaller the opening, the less the interest), the size of the pupil (if you narrow denotes loss of interest) and the direction of the gaze. On this last aspect it is necessary to make some clarifications:

- The gaze turned at the top right (i.e., at the top left of the interlocutor) means that you are lying.

- The gaze towards the top left (i.e., at the top and power of the interlocutor) reveals that one is intent on seeking real memories.

- The gaze turned to the bottom right communicates the elaboration of new sensations mediated by the other senses.

- The gaze turned downwards to the left, signifies an act of reflection with oneself.

From this, it is clear that adequate knowledge of non-verbal communication can represent an excellent incentive, as well as an advantage in daily interactions. Knowing and recognizing the signals of non-verbal communication can improve one's communication activity and make it more efficient and effective, but, above allNon-verbal communication, it can contribute to understanding the truthfulness of others ' messages.


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Mar 02, 2020

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