It has been well established from research that non-verbal communication forms a critical component of communication. It is the passing of messages without the use of words. It can be employed using gestures, eye movements and use of voice. These non-verbal cues carry more information than the spoken word because they are reflex actions controlled by the brain. For example, they may convey a message that the speaker isn’t willing to say verbally because of the potential effect. Also, they may help someone in discovering a lying speaker. In the law, demeanor evidence is sometimes used to weigh the credibility of a witness. Since non-verbal cues are tied deeply to words, they are useful in deciphering messages.
Gestures are categorized into five; the first being emblems. Emblems are gestures that are commonly used in place of words and whose meaning is widely understood by the people it is addressed to. For example, a shake of the head is understood widely to mean a negative answer to the question. Secondly, there are illustrators that reinforce the spoken word. They accompany the spoken word in a way that strengthens understanding for the addressees. An example is pointing to a structure while giving directions. Thirdly, regulators serve to control the interaction between the speaker and addressee. For instance, the recipient of the information may not continue to show that he is listening actively and that the speaker should continue. Fourth, affect displays are non verbal cues that work in tandem with the mind to portray emotions. A slouching posture may mean that the listener is disinterested with the subject while a grimace may indicate disgust with the subject. They often portray the true feelings of the sender of such information because of their spontaneity. Lastly, there are adaptors. These are cues used inadvertently in conversation. They are behaviors done in order to mold oneself into a specific communication situation. For instance, a girl may be accustomed to twisting her hair whenever she speaks to a guy she has feelings for. Since they are unintentional, they provide good clues as to the true feelings of a person. It is thought that such gestures could develop from behavior learnt early in life in response to certain situations. All these gestures improve the efficiency of communication as the use of words is reduced.
The idea of the four proxemic zones was advanced by an anthropologist, Edward Hall. The first zone is the intimate space which is a distance of 0-2 feet between two people. People who are in such a space of each other are comfortable with each other. Approaching someone without reaching that level of comfort may make a person feel like you have intruded on their space. An example of people in an intimate space is those who are hugging. The second zone is the personal space which is characterized by a distance of 2-4 feet. It is just a tad more intimate than the first zone, and it could be used for close friends and family members. It could also be ideal for personal interaction between teachers and students. The third zone is the social space, characterized by a distance of 4-12 feet. People within such a distance are unlikely to be engaging in physical contact. The third zone has a wide variety of applications, for example, interactions among students or colleagues. The last zone is the public space which is a distance of 12-25 feet between people. An example of the public space is the distance between a university professor giving a lecture and his students. Also, it could be between a dignitary giving a speech and his guests. These proxemic zones provide an insight on the communication expected based on the space one is.