Raymond Hull explains at least 70 percent of communication is nonverbal, meaning body language plays a crucial role in forming connections and creating meaningful interactions in our daily lives. By properly observing others’ bodies and facial movements, people can decipher whether or not someone is comfortable in a certain situation, enjoys one’s company or is a genuinely confident individual.
Unfortunately, the art of understanding nonverbal communication is diminishing as the world moves deeper into a digital era. The likelihood of meeting or seeing someone on your phone screen before you meet them in person is higher than ever. Because of this, judgments are made before face-to-face meetings, and an appearance driven generation begins to lose the skills to cultivate quality relationships.
On college campuses, it’s extremely evident, when students rarely interact with new people (soberly) unless they’re in class or another social gathering which will force interactions. People use social media to conceal insecurities and present who they would like to be rather than who they are, and it can create ungenuine situations.
Because of the lack of awareness regarding nonverbal cues, people are becoming socially crippled in terms of understanding another’s true intentions. Their focus is on words, which is problematic because words, when used methodically, can make anyone seem trustworthy or empathetic. Essentially, it’s imperative to acknowledge this issue and take measures to remedy it so we don’t begin to lose our ability to empathize.
On a positive note, people are beginning to realize the negative effects of technology and how it hurts our ability to form connections, and there is no skill that cannot be relearned once it is lost. If individuals strive to truly see others and are observant and attentive in conversation, quality communication will become possible again.
Hopefully, people will begin to see this and attempt to understand others through honest, in-person interactions.