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According to some experts, a substantial part of our communication is nonverbal communication. Every day individuals respond to a thousand different types of nonverbal communication whether it is handshaking, facial expression or even body gesture. Although nonverbal communication is the use of body language to make the point clear but the meaning of these body languages varies in each culture. So it is really important that individuals understand the meaning of these languages so that, it becomes easy to communicate with each other according to the cultural need. The nonverbal messages that a person sends and the responses that they produce are completely rooted in a culture. People in every culture use this specific type of language to express their ideas, their feelings and their attitudes. In certain cultures nonverbal communication is the most significant means of conveying meanings from individual to individual. It is significant to understand the nonverbal communication because if you see an individual with clenched fists and sad expressions than at that time you do not need words to explain that the person is upset about something (Samovar, Larry., et al, 2015).
As it is mentioned above that nonverbal communication meaning is not universal; it varies from culture to culture, so it is important to understand the meaning of these nonverbal relationships. It is said that most of the nonverbal communications are not inherited, but they are learned through the process of socialization. Being a student of intercultural relationships learning about these types of communication will give you an opportunity to improve the manner in which a person engages in that culture. By understanding the nonverbal communication one is able to understand the underlying attitudes and values being expressed by the specific communication partner. Also while talking how far are they standing from each other shows the privacy level that they want while discussing something important. So all these are an indication that in each culture there are specific communications that are used to convey particular information (Samovar, Larry., et al, 2015).
Knowing about these are significant because it is possible that if one specific nonverbal communication is acceptable in one culture, then it is possible that it is unacceptable or offensive in another culture. For example, eye contact is one form of nonverbal communication. In many Asian cultures avoiding eye contact shows a sign of respect while in Latin and North America eye contact shows equality among individuals. Another nonverbal communication is the handshake, in many American cultures handshake shows a great way of greeting people from another county or completely different culture. Whereas in France to greet people they kiss the stranger on their face. A facial expression like wink is another nonverbal communication with varying meaning. In Latin America, it is a romantic sign while the Nigerian people use this gesture when they want their children to leave the room (Samovar, Larry., et al, 2015).
Discovering the perception of nonverbal communication helped me on a personal level to discover my own ethnocentricism. By learning about the varying differences in these nonverbal ways of communication I am now able to understand that what is acceptable in my own culture is not necessarily acceptable in other cultures (Samovar, Larry., et al, 2015). For example, it is completely ok in my culture to shake hands with people to show respect or even to greet them but in some Muslim countries and other parts of the world shaking hands with them is considered either offensive or it is not acceptable at all. So by studying about non verbal communication, it helped me not to offend people of other cultures by not repeating them.
Although understanding the meaning of these nonverbal communications is quite easy but still some people offend others by considering that may be the meaning of these types of communications are universal. One possible reason to think like that is most of the people don't even know that such type of communication exists in the world. It is neither taught in educational, nor it is discussed; therefore most people face difficulty when it comes to interpreting the meaning of nonverbal communication.
If two people are standing and they are discussing something loudly with their waving arms then I will interpret that they are discussing something that is not private but that is something of public interest and to make their points clear they are even using their arms and facial expressions. If a customer in a restaurant waves his hand and then snaps his fingers loudly then that means that he wants to drag the attention off of restaurant officials and waiters towards himself. If an adult put his or her hand on a child's head, then that means that he is giving his blessings to that child (Samovar, Larry., et al, 2015).
So it is now clear that without using words only with help of facial expressions and body gestures one can easily convey the message. So keeping that in mind politicians and businessmen uses this type of communication to make their point clear. Now it is considered o be very important when making business deal or when the leaders of different countries meet. In different universities of the world this is becoming part of the curriculum due to its growing importance.
Samovar, Larry A., et al. Communication between cultures. Nelson Education, 2015.
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