Messages without Sound

I was thinking about how easy  we can communicate the wrong meaning in a situation and cause miscommunication without meaning to.

Even non-verbally we communicate differently  all over the world. Indians bow and say Namaste as Greetings. In the middle East – greetings is Salaam and the person touches their heart, forehead, and up & outward.  In Canada, we nod to acknowledge strangers and shake hands or share a hug with close friends and relatives. Tibetan tribesman say hello by sticking their tongues out and some East African tribes spit at each other.

In North America whistling is a sign of approval, such as at a performance or sporting event. But in Europe, whistling means the opposite. Whistling means disapproval and derision such as when the fans dislike a referee call.

In the situation of entering a crowded aisle of seated people such as a theatre, in North America we usually slide along facing forward and our backsides face the people who are letting us into the aisle. In the Soviet Union and in some European countries this would be rude, you should enter the aisle and slide along facing the people.

When travelling, if we want to know the local practice, we should watch others. Waving our hands back and forth, Beckoning palm up with the index finger, the “ok” sign with thumb and finger, even V for victory if done wrong mean drastically different things around the world and the wrong gesture can result in an insult!

The best gesture is internationally understood, and is good for us because it releases endorphins.

Feel free to use it freely, driving, walking, and use it often and this is of course, the smile.  How easy, and as a bonus it exercises all those facial muscles!  Exercise them now!





About dfolstad58

I live in the South Okanagan. BC. I enjoy reading, exercise, toastmasters. spending time with my son, my daughter, & her husband , and my patient wife. I try to respond personally to every comment on my blog, and in this way I hope to get to know my readers a little bit and and am able to thank readers for their encouragement on what they liked and suggestions on what they would like to see me try in order to improve.
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6 Responses to Messages without Sound

  1. Claudette says:

    It’s so true! I noticed something about myself: I’m not as affectionate as North Americans tend to be. Maybe that’s my upbringing, my parents weren’t either although there were usually warm hugs with the older set (grandparents, great aunts and uncles). But in general, verbal acknowledgement and hand shakes sufficed.
    While in Switzerland on vacation I bumped into a man whom I used to know as a school boy. It’s been 40 years since I’ve seen him. We were small when we knew each other, in the same class, same neighbourhood. When he saw me and called my name back in July, I flew at him and gave him a hug. He was really surprised. In Switzerland, seeing someone whom you had an acquaintance with rather than a familial or deeper relationship, you tend to shake hands with.
    He smiled, but still, I remember thinking, what in the world got into me? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always found the “backside in the face” to be rude and so I always turn around to face people. You can also see where your feet are going, depending on how much room there is. 🙂 But I agree totally – being mindful of soundless messages is a good thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. robynbird says:

    Great post!
    Apparently my face is easily misread. When I feel confused and am trying to understand something, it seems that I appear frustrated or dismissive even.
    I am practicing how to communicate without sound so as not to upset the people around me.
    I have a great smile, and flash it often, perhaps that’s the thing…? 😉


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