The three assumptions of the Non-Verbal Communication
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Giving that the Non-Verbal Communication (NVC) is a complex and uneasy subject, I think it is useful to state the three assumptions that will give the scholar of this subject the right prospective to understand it as fair as possible.
1. “You cannot not communicate”. This is a quote from Paul Watzlawick, an expert of the non-verbal communication’s study, saying a great truth: it reveals that wheter we talk or stay quiet and apparently self-closed, consciuosly or unconsciously we are communicating something to the people around us. Obviously we do it by using different communicative channels out of the simple word. The most important of these channels is the NVC. For example, a person hunched up on a chair with his hands on the head, will communicate a sense of unease, probably bound to a big scare, or even to a dread, recently experienced. In fact the person founds himslef in a position of total closure because he is protecting his head with his hands and he’s protecting his vital organs contained in our chest with his hunched legs.
2. The body always says the truth, you only have to know how to “read” it. The main purpose of our body, and in particular of our facial muscles, is to communicate our sensations and feelings. That’s why, when we say something we are not convinced of, our body reacts creating an incongruence in the communication. Here’s an example of a boy who has been asked “how are you?” and he answered he was fine, even if there was a little expression of pain on his face. This incongruence should incourage the one who noticed it to a discreet improvement of research of what it has been said and what he has seen. The purpose of verify and deepen the event will be the one of helping the boy solving the “conflict” he lives inside of him.
3. The non-verbal communication is analogical. The NVC has the aim of expressing what we feel and it does it by an analogical way, it means it makes gestures imitating the sensation we are experiencing. For example, a person who wants to keep distance from the topic of a dibate at the table will probably stay away from the table by leaning his back on the chairs’ back. Or for example a person who wants to end a talk because he has to go to another place, will unconsciously point his foot towards the direction he has to take.
By keeping in mind these three simple assumptions, you will have the basis to build the house of your knowledge of the NVC.
Milan, 10th June 2017