What you say or how you say it?
We always wonder what is more important in communication: what you say or how you say it? Following behaviours and social scientists, we are focusing mainly on our body language or our non-verbal communication. Non-verbal supply a lot of information than it is projected or supplied verbally. Vivian Ta, has challenged the notion that our non-verbal behaviours are much more important. We have been focusing on the wrong aspect of communication.
We are communicating to have other people understand what we are saying, establishing mutual understanding. Previously researchers and writers have suggested that the development of common ground of understanding is largely dependent on interaction when partners use the same words and essentially the same way of communicating. However, they could not measure what they wanted to measure which was the extent to which interaction partners use the same words in essentially in the same way.
A new measure LSS
Recently a new measure, called Latent Semantic Similarity or LSS, has been introduced. This measure is assessed by using a programme called Latent Semantic Analysis which is an automated statistical method that establishes the contextual meaning of any text by analysing the relationship among the words that are used. In other words, the LSS measure determines how similar to blocks of text or two groups of words are to each other based on the words that are used and how those words are used in relation to other words.For example, if you are talking to one of my friends about your weekend plans, the measure you would first take are all the words that you say and compare it against all the words that your friend says. Then you would determine the amount of shared meaning that exists between you within the conversation.
A legitimate measure of how much people understood each other
Vivian Ta with her colleagues decided to test this measure in order to determine if it can actually be a legitimate measure of how much people understand each other. They have analysed a sample of videotaped recordings and in these recordings were series of initial interactions between pairs of strangers who had just met for the very first time. Additionally, they have also analysed and measured a wide variety of non-verbal and verbal behaviours that occurred within these interactions. They have found the LSS measure was indeed a legitimate measure of how much people understood each other which gave them an empirical tool to measure understanding between people.
Should be focusing a bit more on what we say?
However, the questions are can we determine the behaviours that would significantly predict high levels of mutual understanding? What are the behaviours that were most important when you are communicating with someone and you want to establish common ground understanding? In their second research of initial interactions that occurred between pairs of strangers and they have found that the only behaviour that consistently predicted how much people understood each other, were their verbal behaviours like the amount of talking at the engagement and how many questions they asked each other.
The common ground of understanding
All the other behaviours, like gestures, smiling, laughing, gazes, non-verbal acknowledgements were not essential for the development of common ground understanding. In the same time, Vivian Ta expressed clearly that non-verbal behaviours are important when it comes to creating emotionally pleasant and involving interaction. We should be focusing a bit more on what we say along with how we say.
Important in communication
Also, the Internet has drastically changed how we communicate with each other on a daily basis and it has done so in a very short time. Today we primarily communicate by sending emails, text messages or other instant messages. The internet has literally allowed us to communicate with anybody on the planet at the touch of our fingertips whether or not that person is halfway across the world or if that person is right next to us. This resulted in different types of communication, as are all primarily text-based. We use our verbal behaviour, and no one is going to know whether or not you had shifty eyes or that you were nervously twirling your thumbs. Whenever you send a text message or email or instant message our body language, our non-verbal’s do not matter in this type of communication that dominates our everyday lives.
The popularity of the video
I still believe that non-verbal behaviours are very important. Although it is good to adapt and also give proper attention to the words that we use, however the more important video content and live streams would bring back the dominance of the art of the body language.
The non-verbal still matter
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