Man is a social animal and, therefore, cannot live in isolation without communicating with his peers. Communication is the exchanging of information by using mediums such as speaking and writing. Communication can be non-verbal that can be defined as the nonlinguistic transmission of information by utilizing auditory, visual, and kinesthetic channels. Factors like culture and religion influence the non-verbal communication a lot. For instance, in Asian countries, children are taught to show respect by not making eye contact with the adults, while in many European countries, eye contact is necessary as it shows that the listener is listening and understanding the conversation. Similarly, gestures like shaking hands and hugging their peers while meeting them also come under non-verbal communication.
In non-verbal communication, proximity is a factor that is of high importance. Although many people think personal distance is something that is culturally patterned if proximity is not considered while communicating non-verbally it can lead to bad feelings that can hinder the chances of effective communication and building a friendly relationship.
While reflecting upon my experience, before reading the book "Intercultural Communication" (Brown), I was unaware of the importance of non-verbal communication and how communication differs based on culture and individual preferences. The book highlighted various aspects of non-verbal communication, such as seating arrangement, timing, and territory, etc. The chapter non-verbal communication also helped a lot in learning about the tone and how cultural impact the tone. In many countries speaking in a soft tone is considered appropriate, while in many countries such as Arabs countries, children, especially males, are taught to speak in a louder tone. I personally prefer to speak in a softer tone as, in my culture, politeness is the key to establish relationships. The chapter also highlighted that the culture of a specific place can also change within time and how changes in cultural beliefs can influence how people communicate non-verbally. Thus, it is necessary to have a significant amount of knowledge of the culture of other people while communicating non-verbally as people use their cultural norms to determine appropriate nonverbal behaviors and make judgments if cultural norms are violated.
Brown., Joann. Intercultural Communication.
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