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Communication process
Communication needs a speaker and listener or a writer and reader. When you communicate something, you code it into words and non-verbal activity and then pass it on, using one of several possible channels. You might use speech, pictures, signs or the written word.

When you receive a message from someone else, you have to decode it to pull out and understand its meaning. The context of time, place, experiences and attitudes all affect the quality of your communication.

Your meaning is often carried less by the words themselves than by the way you say them. Mehrabian, in his book ‘Silent Messages,’ suggests that you convey over 90% of your meaning non-verbally, by your gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice or body language. However simple your sentence, you can say it in many different ways.

Are you telling the truth? Are you anxious, pleased, annoyed or excited? The words may stay the same, but you use a different tone of voice, a different volume or a different intonation to indicate your feelings. Your facial expression varies, you make eye-contact and break it and you stand closer to or farther away from the person you talk to.

These actions send messages that are clearer than words themselves. The words you use must be suitable, but so must your non-verbal signals.

How do you interrupt someone who is trying to sell you something? How do you tell someone they are being made redundant? How much should you smile, and how much eye-contact should you make.

Body language
Your non-verbal activity helps or hinder the clarity of the message you send. Your facial features convey silent meaning. Your eyebrows, eyes, lips, forehead, and cheeks all move as you frown, smile or wrinkle your nose. You shift your whole body, leaning forward or pulling back, and you use your hands and arms to gesture. Your voice rises up or sinks down to convey a question or give a command. You talk loudly or quietly, fast or slow.

Non - verbal aspects of language follow rules, just like other areas of language development. Your child needs to learn these in order to use language effectively.

The processes of learning the effective use of language continues from early babyhood until the day we die. Many adults are puzzled as to why people seem to take offence at what they say, or treat them dismissively. The reason is often that language, either verbal or non-verbal, is sending the wrong signals.

Your child will do well in life if he learns to use language, not only linguistically correctly, but also effectively.