Although we usually identify communication with speech, communication is composed of two dimensions – verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal communication includes behaviors in the form of eye contact, touching, voice tone, physical behaviors, and facial expressions. Within the behavior family, non-verbal communication also includes subtle communicators. For example, external appearance, posture, and distance between two people convey subtle communication. Ekman and Friesen (1969) (as cited in Susan, 2002) define communicative non-verbal behavior as “those acts which are clearly and consciously intended by the sender to transmit a specifiable message to the receiver”. Non-verbal communication can have a powerful impact on many aspects of communication with others, including power, synchrony, and immediacy. Hence, the components of non-verbal communication are worth to be discussed in detail.
Importance of Non-Verbal Communication:
Many people believe that communication involves language and, therefore, non-verbal communication is not a legitimate field of study. However, it is impossible to separate verbal and non-verbal communication. When one speaks, his/her gestures and facial expressions accentuate his/her words. Even when speaking on the phone, the tone of voice, rate, volume, and inflection affects the meaning of the speaker. Human beings use non-verbal communication because of the following points.
- Words have limitations: There are numerous areas where non-verbal communication is more effective than verbal (when explaining the shape, directions, personalities, etc. these are expressed non-verbally).
- Non-verbal signals are powerful: Non-verbal cues primarily express inner feelings (verbal messages deal basically with the outside world).
- The non-verbal message is likely to be more genuine: This is because non-verbal behaviors cannot be controlled as easily as spoken words.
- Non-verbal signals can express feelings that are inappropriate to state: Social etiquette limits what can be said, but non-verbal cues can communicate thoughts.
- A separate communication channel is necessary to help send complex messages: A speaker can add enormously to the complexity of the verbal message through simple non-verbal signals.
Non-verbal communication has enormous potential to improve communication. Added skillfully with verbal communication, it can add more meaning in the communication process making the situation win-win for both the sender and the receiver. It has a huge scope in the field of teaching and learning. As stated briefly, how something is expressed may carry more significance and weight than what is said, the words themselves.
For Citing the Article use:
- Ahuja, S. (2009). Impact of non verbal communication of B ED student teachers on their classroom transaction. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10603/58170
- Susan, R. (2002). Using nonverbal communication to improve teacher effectiveness. Retrieved from ERIC Database. (ED464728)