See What I’m Saying?

June 20, 2018

Whether you are aware of it or not, we use non-verbal cues when #communicating. This can include gestures, #body movement, and facial expressions. These generally help to increase understanding and streamline exchanges between speakers, but there are situations in which these can have the opposite effect.


This #miscommunication through non-verbal cues mainly occurs among speakers from different #cultural backgrounds. For example, in one culture eye contact is a sign of respect and showing interest while in another it is a sign of disrespect. Hand gestures can likewise have opposite meanings across cultures (like the American “V for Victory” or “thumbs up”).


Learning the cultural meanings behind these non-verbal cues is just as important as learning the #language. You certainly wouldn’t want to accidentally offend your waitress whilst ordering food, or even a potential boss during an interview.  Even if you are not planning to #travel, perhaps you learned a new language to better connect with your significant other’s family. How terrible would it be to meet them only to offend them with a gesture that you intended as a friendly greeting? This also applies for sub-cultures! More than once a deaf person has fallen victim to gang violence due to the gang misinterpreting the signs as gang signs!


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