Nonverbal communication does away with language in words as a means of interacting with other people. The content or message of nonverbal communication is not grasped by merely listening to words, but is rather observed through gestures, facial expressions, eye movements, touch, other observable behavior that allows communication and interaction. It has been said that nonverbal communication speaks louder than words. It communicates substantially as compared to verbal communication. (Nonverbal Communication) From nonverbal clues, individuals are able to deduce relevant information. For instance, a fidgety person communicates that he is nervous or uneasy even if he does not say it. Conducting an observation focusing on nonverbal actions or behaviors allows individuals to deeply understand what is being communicated beyond words.
A man and a woman sat at a corner table in the coffee shop. It was seven in the evening. The table was made available for two people, the seating allowing them to face each other the entire time. A little round coffee table was in between them. On the table were two mugs and two saucers, both empty. From this set-up I deduced that they have been in the coffee shop for quite sometime. Perhaps they delight in conversing and spending time with each other because they stayed in the coffee shop even after finishing off their food. They were chatting with each other the whole time. Sometimes they were laughing, other times they were seriously talking. They looked into each other’s eyes the entire time they were talking. Sometimes, when they were talking about serious matters, the man would stroke or touch the woman’s hand as if to comfort her. Their actions were entirely natural, without any hint of pretentiousness judging from how their passionate gestures were automatic and expected by them. They were happy and delighted to be together. They talked nonstop and from their facial expressions it was obvious that they were enjoying themselves. They were always smiling and laughing. Although they toned down at some points, where I assume they must be talking about serious matters, they still looked pleased and not problematic. Perhaps they were talking about resolute but trivial matters.
Primarily, sitting at the corner table means that the couple wants to be isolated in order to have an intimate and private time together uninterrupted by the comings and goings of other clients and away from central attention of people inside the coffee shop. From my observations, I would have to assume that they were romantically involved based on how they looked at each other and how they touch each other while they were talking. Caressing the arms of a member of the opposite sex signifies intimacy. At one point, before they left the coffee shop, the man caressed the face of the woman, as if consoling her as it was time to leave the place and perhaps go home.
I would say that the dominant member of the pair would be the man because he was always the one talking. The woman was mostly silent. She was merely responding to the man – laughing when the man finished talking, nodding in agreement, and such. The man was also the one touching the woman initially. While the woman talked in short sentences and responses, the man would always take her hand, stroke or caress it naturally. The woman was comfortable with it. The man was also aware of the time, and he made the cue that they should leave the coffee shop at that time. He touched the woman’s face as if to say that it was time to go, and then they left.
The usefulness of this activity paves way to the acknowledgement of the role of nonverbal communication in obtaining revealed or concealed information. Although verbal communication is more explicit than nonverbal communication, there are some elements of communication masked by words. For instance, people may choose not to say anything about a particular issue but their behavior will always reveal something about their ideas. I discovered some things about the man and woman without having to talk to them, but just by merely observing their actions and behavior. Moreover, this activity supports the main point aforementioned that nonverbal communication states a lot more than verbal communication. Assumptions were based on nonverbal clues that overtly communicates message perceivable through thorough observation.
Nonverbal Communication. (2008). Retrieved from Joelle Belmonte. 02 October 2008.