Have you ever walked by someone and, without knowing them, thought, “She seems rude?” Well, without even knowing it, you are reading that person’s nonverbal communication whether they know they are sending it or not. Nonverbal communication is important! At first glance, someone may come up with an untrue image of who they think you are just by reading your nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal communication is communication that is sent and/or received without the use of words. When your friend looks at you and you automatically know the meaning of that look, that is nonverbal communication. Here are some examples of nonverbal communication to keep in mind.

Eye Contact. One of the most important non verbals is eye contact. If you were to pass someone you know walking to class and not make eye contact, that may send a sign to that person not to say hello. You make eye contact with the person speaking to show attentiveness, which is why it’s one of the most important nonverbals.

Space. You can tell how friendly or close two people are by how far or near they stand to each other. In different cultures, this distance may change. You never want to be too close or too far away from the person you are talking to. You get a feel of how close is ‘too close’ by reading the face and posture of the person you are talking to.

Voice. By voice I mean tone. Tone could be taken differently depending on whom you are talking to. A harsh tone may discourage someone from talking with you in the future.

COMM CUES is a regular feature sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies that offers insight into the role that communication plays in our lives. Visit http://www.xula.edu/communicationstudies/ for more information.

Ebony Artis is a sophomore Communication Studies major from Mobile, Al.

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