Thoughts – Non-verbal Communication

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Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of communication. It really forms the basis of everything we do on a daily basis, and whilst it seems like something mundane, it is very complex. Although we are all human beings, we are divided by different languages and misunderstandings happen much more often than we would like. 

And whilst it looks as though we are more connected to each other than ever, with our globalised technology-powered world allowing us to call and text people on the other side of the planet, and to translate correspondence in a matter of milliseconds, I feel like real communication is becoming increasingly rare. Indeed, in the midst of all the information we are bombarded with on an hourly basis I sometimes forget that the essence of human communication cannot be based on words and texts. 

 

“The tongue can conceal the truth, but the eyes – never! You’re asked an unexpected question, you don’t even flinch, it takes just a second to get yourself under control, you know just what you have to say to hide the truth, and you speak very convincingly, and nothing in your face twitches to give you away. But the truth, alas, has been disturbed by the question, and it rises up from the depths of your soul to flicker in your eyes and all is lost.”

― Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita 

Over 70% of communication is non-verbal. We understand each other better through reading facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, posture, and, of course, eye contact. You can say a lot with writing, but not everything. And it’s such a pity that so many of these interactions are lost in emails and messages, for the sake of speed and convenience, and that normal face-to-face meetings have become the exception, something to be treasured and kept for special occasions instead of parts of our everyday lives. 

This does also make such meetings more precious, and I am always grateful that I can hop onto a plane and visit my family and friends living thousands of miles away. And when we finally meet up we can talk for hours and hours until there is nothing left to discuss, and we simply sit in silence, enjoying each other’s presence.

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