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SAMAAJ KHAYAAL: THE POWER OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

The NUMS Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (DSBS) held its fifth meeting of “Samaaj Khayaal”, a monthly series, which aims to transcend disciplinary boundaries, find connections and bring to light issues of social relevance. The session titled “Non-verbal Communication and Intercultural Competence” was held on November 27th, 2019 at DSBS, NUMS. Ms. Noreen Mirza, Additional Director, NUMS Resource Development Directorate NUMS was the speaker for this session, with a multidisciplinary audience from different departments at NUMS, in attendance. With her academic and professional expertise in the field of linguistics, the speakerused theoretical perspectives from psychology, linguistics and anthropology to discuss the significance of non-verbal communication in our day to day lives. The speaker explained that the words chosen for speech account for only a small percentage of effective communication and there is more value and impact of how people sound and look. It is therefore required that we become conscious of our non-verbal communication due to its contribution to our personal and professional relationships.

The session included activities through which the audience could practice and see the different interpretations of non-verbal communication like handshakes and saying the same sentence with a stress on different word each time. The speaker used examples of different cultures to talk about the role of proxemics (distance and space), chromatics (colors), chronemics (time), silences, eye contact and gestures in communication patterns.

With examples from health care setting, it was discussed how non-verbal communication plays a central role with regards to the interaction of health care practitioners and patients and caregivers. The discussion among the audience was focused on how to become cultural beings by understanding the meanings attached to non-verbal aspects of communication in relation to age, gender, ethnicity etc and then apply them in our inter-cultural interactions.

The NUMS Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (DSBS) held its fifth meeting of “Samaaj Khayaal”, a monthly series, which aims to transcend disciplinary boundaries, find connections and bring to light issues of social relevance. The session titled “Non-verbal Communication and Intercultural Competence” was held on November 27th, 2019 at DSBS, NUMS. Ms. Noreen Mirza, Additional Director, NUMS Resource Development Directorate NUMS was the speaker for this session, with a multidisciplinary audience from different departments at NUMS, in attendance. With her academic and professional expertise in the field of linguistics, the speakerused theoretical perspectives from psychology, linguistics and anthropology to discuss the significance of non-verbal communication in our day to day lives. The speaker explained that the words chosen for speech account for only a small percentage of effective communication and there is more value and impact of how people sound and look. It is therefore required that we become conscious of our non-verbal communication due to its contribution to our personal and professional relationships.

The session included activities through which the audience could practice and see the different interpretations of non-verbal communication like handshakes and saying the same sentence with a stress on different word each time. The speaker used examples of different cultures to talk about the role of proxemics (distance and space), chromatics (colors), chronemics (time), silences, eye contact and gestures in communication patterns.

With examples from health care setting, it was discussed how non-verbal communication plays a central role with regards to the interaction of health care practitioners and patients and caregivers. The discussion among the audience was focused on how to become cultural beings by understanding the meanings attached to non-verbal aspects of communication in relation to age, gender, ethnicity etc and then apply them in our inter-cultural interactions.