Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nonverbal Communication

“We respond to gestures with an extreme alertness and, one might say, in accordance with an elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.” This concept written by Eduard Sapir contains a great deal of truth.

We often respond to people when we are still a considerable distance from them. We say things like: “Hey, do you know who that is?” “What are they doing here?” “Why are police officers walking all around here. Should I be concerned?”

We ask those questions because of a desire/need to know what is happening and the possibility that we might become involved. In spite of the fact that moms and dads are our first and best teachers, we can’t recall any lessons in nonverbal communication but are attempting to make use of it anyway.

We know that we use nonverbal communication all the time, trying to decide where to go and what to do. We too often think that others aren’t making use of nonverbal communication. Our dress, actions and general “isolation” from others indicates that we don’t really think they are using nonverbal communications and making judgments on what to do next based on their interpretations. Those interpretations must be inaccurate.

Those interpretations must be inaccurate because we don’t have enough information to form accurate explanations. We see things, such as a person we suspect doesn’t have enough money to afford the Porsche they’re driving on a regular basis. We decide that the car must belong to a parent, uncle or maybe they’re drug dealers. The more we think about how they act the more convinced that they really are drug dealers. When all is said in done, nonverbal communications are ambiguous and we need to think about them more often and more carefully than we do.

No comments: