Communication is very important for people to interact with each other. Communication includes verbal communication and nonverbal communication. In our everyday lives, the type of communication we use the most is nonverbal communication. But nonverbal communication is as importance as verbal communication because I think that without nonverbal communication and verbal communication, life will be very boring because we cannot express our feeling and though through gestures, words, and other.
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Nonverbal communication is communication without words (DeVito, 2011, p. 131). To explain in my own words, nonverbal communication is communication through gestures, body movement, facial expression, eye contact, and other to show own thoughts without words. For example, when we are still a little baby, we keep crying to get something from our parent and this is nonverbal communication. As we grow older, we can communicate with other people through words with facial expression. There are several functions of nonverbal communication like integrating with verbal messages, forming impressions, defining relationships, structuring conversation, influencing and deceiving, and expressing emotions (Guerrero & Hecht, 2008).
Besides that, there are different kind of nonverbal messages like touch messages, eye messages, body messages, facial messages, spatial messages, artifactual messages, paralanguage messages, silence messages, time messages, and smell messages (DeVito, 2011). All these nonverbal messages will help us know more about other and ourselves. Next I will be explaining the importance of nonverbal communication in our daily lives.
Importance of nonverbal communication
As I mentioned above, the function of nonverbal communication is forming impressions. This is very important because in our daily lives, especially when we meet someone at the first time, we will form a first impression toward that person based on the person’s skin color, eye contact, face expression, dress, and other. Further, this will define the relationship between us and the person. Normally, when a person gives you a bad impression, you wouldn’t like to be friend with that person. So, we must be aware of our nonverbal messages to success in our daily lives.
First interactions with other people strongly affect a person’s lifestyle. There is a study show that “you have less than ten seconds and realistically close to four seconds to make a good impression on those with whom you come in contact” (Hogan & Stubbs, 2003). “People are more likely to believe that the first things they learn are the truth” (Demarais & White, 2004).
In our daily lives, nonverbal communication is really important. For example, when we are going to interview for a job or scholarship, we are not just using verbal communication to communicate with other people but also nonverbal communication. We also have to dress appropriately and speak politely with a lovely smile, focused eye contact and confident when we are speaking to the person that interview us. This not only shows that we respect the person but also shows that we have a good manner and good communication skills.
Other than that, nonverbal communication helps us to detect lies especially for the police by noticing some nonverbal messages from the suspects that had caught. For example, when you are asking a person questions and the person answer you without looking at you, body turn to one side, and some petty action, it is mean that the person is lying or done something wrong. We also can detect lies when the person’s body language does not match a verbal message.
Nonverbal communication can solve many problems include language barriers. It is very common that when two person from different country and speak different language, they will usually communicate nonverbally. For example, when we ask for direction to some places, but the person doesn’t know to speak in our language, the person will usually use hands with some body movement to show the direction.
In addition, our clothing or how we dress is also a type of nonverbal messages and it is important in our daily lives. Nowadays, people will judges on you based on the way you dress. So, it is important to dress appropriately to the situation. From the way you dress, people can know many things about you like your attitudes, sense of style, socioeconomic states and other. How we wear can also show our profession like the uniform those doctors, soldiers, policemen and firemen wear during their working time. Actually, like body piercings, tattoos, even the jewelry we wear will show our personality, beliefs and other.
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Nonverbal communication is really useful in our daily lives especially when we travel, study or working oversea. But we have to be aware of our body movement and emblems because in different country, there are different meanings toward it. For example, in the United State, to say “hello” you wave with your whole hand moving from side to side, but in large part of Europe that same signal means “no” (DeVito, 2011, p. 135). Further, the colors of our clothing have different meanings from one culture to another. For example, green signifies envy in United State but in Ireland green signifies patriotism.
Besides that, touch is one type of nonverbal communication. It also has different meanings in different culture, so we have to acquire basic knowledge of nonverbal communication in different cultures that will help us to avoid misunderstandings when communicate with people of different backgrounds in our daily lives. Touch may have positive and negative meanings such as appreciation, sexual interest, playfulness, greetings, and other. For example, Muslim children are socialized not to touch members of the opposite sex, a practice that can easily be interpreted as unfriendly by American children who are used to touching each other (Dresser, 2005).
In our daily lives, we always talk when we communicate with other people but many of us don’t know that silence is also a type of communication. Silence allows us to think before we speak and someone may use silence to hurt others. For example, couples usually remain silent as a kind of punishment after quarreling. Sometimes silence communication will also show your emotion and responses but not every country view silence as the same meaning. Of course, you may silence when you do not want to say anything. But as I say, not every people view silence as the same. In the United State, silence will always mean negatively. For example, at a business meeting or even in informal social groups, a silent person may be seen as not listening or as having nothing interesting to add, not understanding the issues, being insensitive, or being too self-absorbed to focus on the messages of others (DeVito, 2011, p. 149).
Lastly, smell communication, or olfactory communication, is extremely important in a wide variety of situations and is now big business in our daily lives (DeVito, 2011, p. 153). Nowadays, people use perfume, powders and even colognes to make them smell pleasant and attractive to others. Besides, smell can stimulate our appetites, identify something like products or person, and also serve as memory aid. Smell really helps a lot in our daily lives. Actually not only women are using perfumes, even men are using them as well. I think that is because different smell will make some differences and changes to everyone. For example, the smell of lavender can increase alertness, the smell of rose oil can reduce blood pressure, and other. According to Martin G. N., the smell of chocolate seems to reduce theta brain waves and thus produces a sense of relaxation and a reduced level of attention (Martin, 1998).
As I had explained above, nonverbal communication is important at all times because we use this type of communication the most in our daily lives. Through nonverbal communication, other people can know what we really feel without having to speak or tell our opinion. Most of the time, people communicate better when using body signals than speaking. All the nonverbal messages can tell other whether they are liked or hated. The nonverbal messages used by a person can say a lot about them, sometimes even talk for them. The most important thing I would like to say is that what you do is always more than the words you say.
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