Understanding nonverbal communication.
Demonstrative communication or nonverbal communication takes a number of forms such as facial expressions, hand gestures, body language, eye movements etc. This form of communication is often impactful during communications without the messenger’s knowing as it can be transmitted through elements that are not always deliberate and are susceptible to other issues such as culture and personality differences. Being a good communicator means developing an awareness and deliberateness with nonverbal communication.
According to Gallaher (1992), is any communication unspoken or written and allows for many different messages to be sent as well as being commonly used. Perhaps the most important factor impacting this communication is culture. Depending upon the culture in question, demonstrative communication can be interpreted differently (Gallaher, 1992). For example, in many Middle Eastern cultures, it is disrespectful and inappropriate to make eye contact with strangers. Direct eye contact is considered rude or a challenge and contrasting this interpretation is the US interpretation of eye contact which is opposite and considered rude not to make contact. This creates an issue when unaware of the difference such that even if a message is delivered with clarity, the message can still fail in a lack of cultural understanding for demonstrative communication.
One of the largest forms of demonstrative communication is gestures which can include handshaking, pats on the back, symbolic gestures (peace signs), etc. This is a problematic area of nonverbal communication because different gestures mean different things in different cultures such as the peace sign in the US meaning the same as giving the middle finger to someone in Europe. While gestures can be effective communication devices, they can also cause many problems.
The nature of demonstrative communication involves being aware of the messages and listening and responding. As much as listening requires being active, so too does demonstrative communication. Demonstrative communication, although natural, it does require responding and feedback to be considered effective. Often feedback is also demonstrative in nature such as shrugging or nodding in agreement. Demonstrative communication contains many forms of feedback in this manner and can enhance communication as well as facilitate it.
Another important aspect of demonstrative communication is the cue. Cues are any movement or action that transmits how a person feels in relation to what is being said such as nodding to show approval (Huntington, 2015). This is problematic because if you are unaware of your cues you might be telling someone you are not interested when you are such as at a job interview.
Demonstrative communication is highly effective when a person develops an awareness of it and can wield it in conversation to build rapport. Leaders and salespeople are typically very adept at using nonverbal communication because they have learned to emphasize and build value in their words by using cues and gestures. If you want to be successful, study your nonverbal communication and you will begin to see what is persuasive and what is not.
Gallaher, P. (1992). Individual Differences in Nonverbal Behavior: Dimensions of Style. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 6(1), 133–145.
Huntington, M. (2015). How Nonverbal Communication Can Help in the Workplace. Retrieved from Chron: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/nonverbal-communication-can-workplace-21523.html