What is nonverbal communication?
If we judge by the term itself, nonverbal communication means all the communication made outside words. But what are we sending outside words? We are sending moods, emotions, feelings, attitudes.
It is about information that mould and defines a relationship, between two people, in small groups or maybe for an entire colectivity. It is that kind of information that verbal language cannot (or maybe does not want) to transmit. For instance, you have a guest who does not want to leave anymore. How are you managing this? You start fidgeting, try to leave the chair, looking to the watch etc. You can’t yell at him “Get out!”, so you suggest him quietly, nonverbally, that he has to go.
Evolutionary speaking, nonverbal communication is the first channel of communication. All animals except humans, communicates nonverbal only. Man is the only animal who can speak, and speaking is a recent acquisition. Language appeared couple tens of thousand years ago, while our ancestors appeared millions of years before. And in all this time lag between first ancestors and language invention, we managed to communicate through facial expressions, voice, body movements etc. Nature was wise enough to provide us with a communication mechanism which is universal and biologically rooted. Think to the communication between an infant and his mother; what does he know? Cry and coo, yet this is enough for his mother to understand and provide.
Most of the times, what we are sending nonverbally is more believable that what we are saying. Nonverbal communication is older and straighter. Harder to falsify. That’s why is easier to say a lie through e-mail than throgh phone, and easier through phone than face to face. As you are closer physically and emotionally, to someone, you will be more inclined to communicate through nonverbal channels.
So, what is nonverbal comunication? I think nonverbal communication cannot be defined clearly and has not defined boundaries.It is an „umbrella-concept” trying to grasp a reality whih is now studied multidisciplinary: communication, ethology, psychology, sociology, anthropology and so on. It is not possible to make a classical definition of the term, the reality behind it is too messy, as life itself.