You cannot not communicate
Communication is not only expressed through words. Through body language alone we can convey messages without having to utter a word. Our head movements, hand gestures, a smile, or a sigh – these are all elements of non-verbal communication. We could nod our head to reply in the affirmative instead of using the word that means ‘yes’. We use hand gestures to communicate much of the time without having to do so verbally. Yet, they are comprehensible to whoever the gestures are directed at. A smile is readily interpreted as a sign of friendliness and the other person is very likely to reciprocate. An upright posture exudes confidence.
Many are under the erroneous impression that by choosing to be silent they are not communicating their feeling and thought. Even by saying nothing, a message is conveyed. Say, we are asked a question and we remain silent, we are in fact communicating. We are giving out messages that we have not heard the question or we are unaware that the question is aimed at us or we are not in the mood to talk to that person who asks the question or we are angry.
Other people’s non-verbal signals, likewise reveals a lot about their thoughts and feelings. For instance, from their communication we can detect their insincerity when what they say is not matched by their actions. Bodily actions and mannerisms are proportionately more important than the spoken words. Words constitute only 7% of our communication; voice tonality and body language made up the rest.
It’s obviously wrong to assume that we could only use words to communicate. Be constantly aware that our body language is communicating all the time. Understanding other people’s non-verbal communication enables us to respond and relate in an appropriate way. However, there are times when we should not avoid our responsibility in verbal communication lest our non-verbal communication be wrongly interpreted.