The way you move, look or react tells the other person whether you care or not, if you are telling the truth and even how well you were listening. When your non-verbal signs match up with the words you are saying, they increase trust but when they don’t, they trigger just the opposite effect.
In general, non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, gestures (body language), as well as the distance between the speakers. These non-verbal signals are considered important hints for revealing the implicit messages which are usually expressed through non-verbal behaviours.
Why is non-verbal communication so important? Actually, these signals reinforce or modify what we say. For example, many people raise their shoulders for saying “I don’t know” instead of stating this sentence, or, for instance, a listener rolling his or her eyes is a blatant cue that he or she does not care about what the speaker has to say.
Nevertheless, such non-verbal pointers can also provide us with feedback on whether a conversation that occurs is equally interesting and engaging for all participants. The regulation of the flow of communication is another important point for which we use these signals for example by signalling to others that we have finished speaking or wish to say something.
In this video with Eddie Murphy, we can see how human beings are able to communicate without using a single word (even if the result is not always what we had expected).
By Gala Gil Amat
Student at University of Alicante, Degree in Translation and Interpreting
Communication Study Visitor at TermCoord