Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Power of Non-Verbal Communication*

The following was originally posted on February 24, 2010. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Holiday series:

I have known for some time now that understanding non-verbal communication is essential when it comes to human relationships. Many of my family members in India do not speak English very well (or at all) and I do not know much of my parents' native language, so it has been difficult to communicate with them. Regardless of the language barrier, I manage to keep my powers of perception as open as possible, because when speaking is difficult or impossible, simple actions like facial expressions or body language become very important when determining what another person is thinking or feeling at any particular moment.

Even when language is not a barrier, I still try to be perceptive in non-verbal communication. In many previous work and academic environments, I learned the hard way not to always believe what was promised or told to me at face value. I specifically remember a former employer trying to make conversation with me in a conference room before a meeting, and realizing for the first time that she did not like me at all. This became blatantly clear just before I left the position to attend graduate school full-time. I caught her in a lie about my job performance, and knew it was time to leave. I also remembered how she was on that day before the meeting, and other experiences that occurred afterward that really made everything clear.

Ever since this incident, I used my powers of perception to understand what people think. My observations are not always correct, but I have been more right than wrong when it comes to non-verbal communication.

Do you agree with my assessment? Why or why not?

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