Nonverbal Communication in Politics
Communication is defined as the process of sending and receiving messages between two mediums. Communication involves the exchange of messages, information or thoughts by use of signals, behaviour, writing or speech. This essay will look at the main strengths of the article on the use of non-verbal communication in politics, which includes gestures, body posture and facial expressions in passing information. The essay will also make a critique of the use of nonverbal communication in politics.
In the realm of politics, political leaders have widely made use of nonverbal communication, especially when persuading voters to cast their votes in their favor. Many democratic countries all over the world such as Turkey, the U.S.A, and Britain among others have utilized nonverbal communication to pass vital information to citizens. In the article titled “Using Nonverbal Communication in Politics”, Demir (2011) explains that nonverbal communication has been utilized as a primary tool by political leaders to attract huge crowds and make a positive impact on the society.
Nonverbal communication is an art itself and it involves listening and responding. Nonverbal communication includes unwritten and demonstrative communication, such as sending and receiving wordless messages. Among all types of non-verbal communication, facial expression is the most common since it is used in many contexts, especially in politics. Nonverbal communication is used unconsciously in everyday life. This is supported by the factual research, which has shown that 38% of everyday communication comprises of audio codes, 55% is body language, and 7% comprises of words (Demir, 2011).
In the article, Demir (2011) provides examples of different leaders such as Obama, Karzai, Sarkozy, Berlusconi and others, who are employing different forms of nonverbal communication. He argues that politics is an art of management, and it requires the use of nonverbal communication when passing information to influence society. This includes shaking hands, hugging each other, using fingers and hands to express information. President Obama has been singled out as a leader with a firm handshake, and he often uses his hands comfortably to pass information. In addition, political leaders have also used different colors, either on flags, vehicles, suits and emblems to express power, fear, conservatism, authority among other aspects (Demir, 2011). For example, dark blue and black symbolizes authority, red depicts fear, passion and anger, and white shows peace and humility in political spheres.
In spite of the positive aspects associated with nonverbal communication in politics, Demir (2011) observes that citizens and voters should be careful not to misread or misinterpret what some politicians mean. This is because politicians use facial expressions, signs, symbols, appearances or gestures to communicate different meanings at different times. As a result, misinterpretation of signals can easily lead to conflicts or disagreements among the leaders and electorate.
Another critique associated with nonverbal communication in politics is the lack of complexity related with verbal communication. For instance, when passing vital information to voters using nonverbal communication, there are vital elements such as motion and sound that would be left out. Nonverbal communication revolves around listening and responding, thus, making the use of feedback quite essential in promoting an understanding between a sender and the receiver of a message (Demir, 2011).
After reading the article, I have learnt that nonverbal communication is exceptionally beneficial, especially in politics. In international politics, leaders have used nonverbal communication to seize and hold on to government through populist measure. However, the use of nonverbal communications in politics still leaves many questions to be addressed on its effectiveness and impact on the society. When it is not well interpreted, nonverbal communication may not yield positive results both for the leaders and the electorate. As a concept, the article had improved my understanding of nonverbal communication.
Demir, M. (2011). Using nonverbal communication in politics. Canada: Beykent University,
Faculty of Communication.