By Kenneth Justice
~ Have you ever noticed that someone can really piss you off or really make you happy…merely by the way they look at you? It’s pretty amazing when you think about it; psychologists have determined that more than 90% of communication is non-verbal.
–) The way you look at someone
–) The mannerisms or gestures you use while talking
–) Eye contact or lack thereof
Many different non-verbal behaviors makeup the majority of our communication on a daily basis, and the way in which we conduct these non-verbal behaviors determines how people interpret what we have to say.
Non-verbal or non-word cues also play a big role in the way we write and blog. For instance, you’ll notice that in many of my articles I use quite a few unorthodox types of syntax in;
–) I use bullet points like the one to the left of this sentence. Other times I will italicize words I want to emphasize and sometimes I make the italicized word bold as well.
I also like to repeat key themes in my article
I also like to repeat key themes in my article
All of this is intentional on my part; some of it is my own technique that I’ve developed and other elements are things I’ve copied from various writers that I enjoy reading. Ultimately, the goal of my non-word cues is to convey what I’m really trying to say.
The people close to us usually know how to give us just the right look to make us smile, piss us off, demonstrate love, or communicate any number of things. Siblings, spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, all have come to know us so well that they only need to give us that look.
However, even though we have all mastered various levels of non-verbal communication a simple truth still remains; much of Western Culture is still dominated by miscommunication.
You see, so much communication in Western Culture is misunderstood. Whether it’s because so much of Western Culture is made up of an amalgamation of all sorts of cultures residing together or whether it’s because too many of us stubbornly refuse to try and understand what we are all saying……the bottom-line is that Western Culture is filled with a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings.
I’ve often wondered how many relationships have ended because neither of the people properly learned to communicate with each other. Some psychologists use the term ‘love language’ to describe the specific ways we each understand that someone loves us.
–) Some people are ‘touchy-feely’ and they need their significant other to regularly touch their shoulders, kiss, hug, etc.
–) Other people do not like to be touched at all and they interpret too much touching as ‘smothering’ and too intrusive.
A decade ago I started working in a predominately Arab-American business sector and I had to learn how to adapt and connect with mannerisms of behavior that I was entirely unused to; had I interpreted their non-verbal communication with that which I had been raised in I would have completely misunderstood my clients.
So what’s the point of a blog article about communication?
I could be wrong but it seems to me that Western Society has arrived at a precipice
–) Communication between the young and old has in many ways become fragmented
–) Communication between government leaders and citizens has broken down
–) Communication between business owners and employees has fractured
–) Communication between the wealthy and the lower classes is all but non-existent.
Of course, many of us might think the solution to these various societal breakdowns has to do with money and how it is distributed, but putting the money-issues aside it is important to note that positive communication is simply not occurring.
Older people say one thing……and younger people hear something entirely different.
Younger people say one thing……and older people hear something entirely different.
Quite often; before words are ever exchanged the communication has failed because both sides have communicated non-verbal cues that have deconstructed any attempt at positive communication.
A good friend of mine interrupts me….a lot.
He can barely let me speak two sentences without cutting me off. Sometimes he will cut me off by making sounds that aren’t even words; he’s preparing to interrupt me. I interpret all of his interruptions in one simple way; he doesn’t give a crap about what I have to say….he only wants to hear himself talk.
Hey, I don’t have answers to all of the economic woes and generational problems that many of us face, but I am becoming more and more aware of the general inability that our culture suffers when it comes to communication.
Time for another coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society