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Nonverbal communication includes facial expression, tones of voice , gestures, and eye contact. It plays an important role in our daily life, sometimes it is even more powerful than the verbal interaction. Different gestures have different meanings. Different nationalities have specific gestures and emotions. However, due to the different background and culture, even the same gesture and emotion has different meaning for different people in certain contexts. Thus, it is very useful for us to understand people by understanding their basic nonverbal communicative skills
Only in a very limited way can people communicate non verbally. By suing face, hand and body gestures and poses, people can express very simple wishes, but for higher abstract concepts or or desires, communication is needed. One needs precise language and grammar to specify intended meaning.
Our communication with people from our own culture and those who speak common language also include a considerable mix of nonverbal communication. But when we are trying to communicate with people who do not speak any language we know than we are left with no alternative but to rely on non-verbal communication. This is the only approach available to us irrespective of the cultural background of the person we are trying to communicate with.
There are many cultural differences in nonverbal communication also. But there are common elements across different cultures to make this method worth a try when the option of communicating in a commonly understood language - verbal or nonverbal is not available.
Nonverbal communication can be very powerful in communicating wants and needs. Look at pantomimes. They can express so much with body language and facial expressions. For them there is no need to speak to ge their message across.
Many of the facial expressions that we use in our society have the same meaning in other societies. Smiling, frowning, etc denote similar concepts across cultures. It is when we refer to hand gestures that we need to be careful. Their meanings change across cultures and can be interpreted as offensive to many.
I think it is somewhat possible to communicate non-verbally with people of our own culture but not with another culture. Non-verbal communication varies from culture to culture. What something means in one culture may be the total opposite in another. You may end up offending someone without even knowing it.
Nonverbal communication is different between cultures to a certain extent. The differences usually lie in their hand gestures. Due to this you have to be careful while traveling. Smiling is universally recognized, as is frowning and crying.
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