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Communication in whatever form, serves a specific purpose of passing information. Nonverbal communication constitutes a large portion of human communication behavior. Nonverbal communication could range from mild hand gesticulations, aggressive body language or even a faint smile. I have had several opportunities to observe people from a distance in a bid to analyze what they were trying to communicate in a nonverbal manner. I have come to realize that the environment plays a significant role in the measure of how well nonverbal communication are used in disseminating information. Places like parks, college libraries, the bus station, restaurants and cafes are notably some of the places where nonverbal communications may be critically observed.
Two days ago, I went to grab a cup of my favorite coffee at the Starbucks café and decided to sit for a while to pen down a few thoughts. I ended up observing a couple just a few rows in front of my table. The observation began at about 8:38 am and ended about 30 minutes later. The café was unusually quiet, probably because the weather was bit chilly or because it was one of those days where everyone seemed to be in a relaxed mood. The couple just a few tables ahead of where I sat were equally quiet but it was obvious they were communicating in what many would deem as nonverbal. The young man, from his boyish grin and strong masculine physique I guessed would be around the age of 24, but his well-tailored suit made him seem older. He was lean with brown eyes and well-trimmed black hair. The lady, on the other hand, was evidently a student. Her college books were stacked on the table and her laptop bag was resting on one of the chairs. She looked young and pretty but seemed very feminine and petite.
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Because both individuals were so engrossed with the other, it was easy to actually stare at them to observe every gesture that was made. The first thing anyone would have observed was the fact that they maintained eye contact throughout their time together, only looking down at the table for a few seconds probably because the other had looked too hard. The young lady was apparently blushing. I knew this because her face was flushed and her body language exhumed an air of shyness, from the way she crossed her legs and tuck her hands into her thighs, leaning forward and moving randomly from side to side at intervals. Their lips didn’t move much and if it did I was out of earshot. The young man I was fascinated by, because he somewhat kept his composure. He sat up straight at all times, laughed a couple of times and had his boyish grin the rest of the time. At some point in time, he would lean forward, stretch out his hand and tuck the ladies hair behind her ears. It was evident they were a little more than ordinary friends. It seemed so but the young man’s air of confidence and composure didn’t give much away. However, I was able to come to this conclusion when he reached out and took her hand in his.
In the thirty minutes I spent observing the couple, I was able to observe certain nonverbal gestures that communicated affection. First was their facial expressions and constant eye contact coupled with the lady’s flushed cheeks and the looking down at the table at intervals. Secondly was the touching of hands in the most gentle on manners and the tucking of the hair. Lastly, the body language of both individuals seemed the strongest signal of the communication. The man with his upright posture portrayed a level of charisma which I believe was one of the things the lady liked about him, and she with a slouched posture leaning over the table with her hands held together on her thigh depicted a high level of affection for the young man. The young man’s tilting of his head to allow him to look into her eyes and the grin on his face portrayed strong feelings of admiration for the young lady. Overall it was extremely pleasant to watch and observe the couple.
The couple’s time together was enjoyable for them as it was for me. It was clear they appreciated each other’s company. The nonverbal cues and gestures, the lack of personal space, the engrossed hand holding in the most affectionate of manners and locked eye contact was evidence of this notion. I observed on this occasion that nonverbal communication could be just as powerful as any other form of direct communication. However, unless one is compelled to actually observe, many forms of nonverbal communication go unnoticed. I have come to the realization that nonverbal communication might just be the most powerful form of communication there is, as it portrays a totality of what a person might truly be trying to get across, in terms of information which most other communication styles might not be able to truly accomplish.