Unspoken Words

“Unspoken words – where actions speak louder than words.”

Non-verbal communication plays an important key factor in communicating. It is non-linguistic and contains intentional symbolic behavior. There are various types of non-verbal communications such as kinesics (body language), paralinguistics (pitch of the voice), chronemics (time), objectics or artifacts, oculesics (eyes), haptics (touch), proxemics (space) and lastly physical appearance. 75% of the message is encoded in these non-verbal cues which are an extremely influential source of meaning. Many of us would not have realised this and we tend to under value non-verbal cues.

I stumbled upon this video – Operation Smile on Youtube and felt happy for the girl. Although, mainly in this clip does not have any verbal communication, most of us could understand and interpret from the non-verbal cues shown. Basically, from the clip, we can conclude that this cheerful child is a patient who has a cleft lip and hides her face behind the pink stuff toy due to the insecurities she has of her appearance. In the other half of the video shows that she has done a cleft lip surgery and is crying perhaps, due to the pain from the stitch. She is seen to be rather close with the volunteer. As she sees herself in the camera, she is so happy that her cleft lip is gone and thinking that she looks gorgeous!

What were the non-verbal cues that she excludes out which enable us to interpret the video this way? From the beginning of this video, first of all, we notice her physical appearance and could denote that she has a cleft lip. Next, by the way she dress (objectics), we knows that she is a patient in that hospital. Third, through her body language, we can interpret that she is more comfortable with her pink friend and her bag. Moving on to the second part of the clip, straight away we notice the nicely stitched lip, with this we could conclude that she has done a cleft lip surgery. And judging by her swollen eyes, we knew that she was crying before the filming of the video perhaps due to the painfulness in her lip. Towards the end, looking at the distance she keeps (proxemics) and the interactions with the volunteer, we could tell that they are rather close to each other. Lastly, look at how she sees herself in the camera after the surgery. Her eyes shine and sparkled (oculesics) as she moves on to touch her face and wave happily admiring herself in the camera.

Even though, non-verbal communication can be subjective, I believed that in this clip, it is normative; whereby the cues are socially agreed upon on or culturally defined meanings. Just by interpreting these non-verbal cues allow us to get so much information on what the video is about.

Afterall, unspoken words speak louder than words. Don’t you agree?

PS: Before the operation, the girl was beautiful. After the operation, she become even more beautiful 🙂

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