The boy acts cool, crossing his legs and affecting a casual air - even though his heart is beat wildly. The girl, obviously smitten herself, is afraid the boy will see her looking at him. A few seconds pass. He looks at her again. She starts to blush. He nervously looks at the ceiling and whistles softly to himself. They continue their cat-and-mouse game for a seemingly interminable period of time. Will they ever talk to each other?
According to one study, words convey only 7 percent of a person's message. intonation and voice quality communicate 38 percent, and nonverbal cues transmit a whopping 55 percent. That means people pick up more from nonverbal communication than from the words a person says, When studying about a foreign culture then, it just makes sense to pay attention to how people use nonverbal cues.
For example,when the Maoris of New Zealand stick out their tongue at someone ,it is a sign of respect. When American schoolchildren make the same gesture, it means just the opposite. Also, Americans often indicate "OK" with their thumb and forefinger touching to form a circle. The same gesture means "money" to the Japanese, "zero" to the French and a "vulgarity" to Brazilians. For that reason, people in a foreign culture must use gestures with caution.