If anyone asked you what were the main means of communication between people, what would you say? That isn't catch question. The answer is simple and obvious. It would almost certainly refer to means of communication that involve the use of words. Speakers and listeners - oral communication, and writers and readers - written communication. And you'd be quite right. There is, however, another form of communication which we all use most of the time, usually without knowing it. This is sometimes called body language. Its more technical name is non-verbal communication. Nonverbal, because it does not involve the use of words. NVC for short. 假如现在有个人问你，什么是人与人之间的主要交际手段，那么你会说什么？这并不是一个能把人难住了的问题。这个答案简单而又明确。这几乎可以肯定，指的就是用语言文字作为交际手段。讲话的人和听讲的人用口语进行交际，而作家与读者用书面文字进行交际。对了，你答得相当正确。但是，还有一种交际方式是我们大家在不知不觉地大部分时间都在使用的，这就是我们有时称为的身体语言。身体语言的更加专业化的名称就是非语言交际。之所以称为非语言文字的，就是因为这种交际是不用语言文字进行的。缩写是NVC.
When someone is saying something with which he agrees, the average European will smile and nod approval. On the other hand, if you disagree with what they are saying, you may frown and shake your head. In this way you signal your reactions, and communicate them to the speaker without saying a word. I referred a moment ago to "the average European", because body language is very much tied to culture, and in order not to misunderstand, or not to be misunderstood, you must realize this. A smiling Chinese, for instance, may not be approving but somewhat embarrassed. 当某人谈了某件事，大多数的欧洲人若是同意了某人所说的事，那么这个欧洲人就会微笑并点头表示同意。相反，若是你这个欧洲人不同意他们所说的事，那么你可能皱眉并摇摇头。用这种方式你表示了你对他们所说的事的反应意见，你就一句话也没说就把你的反应意见传达给了跟你讲话的人。我刚才提到"绝大多数欧洲人"，因为身体语言与文化习俗有很大的联系，为了不致误解别人或为了不被别人所误解你必须意识到这一点。例如，一位华人在微笑时很可能并不表示同意，很可能表示某种有点难为情不好意思。
Quite a lot of work is now being done on the subject of NVC, which is obviously important, for instance, to managers, who have to deal every day with their staff, and have to understand what other people are feeling if they are to create good working conditions. Body language, or NVC signals, are sometimes categorised into five kinds: 1. body and facial gestures; 2. eye contract; 3. Body contract or "proximity"; 4. clothing and physical appearance; and 5. the quality of speech. I expect you understood all those, except perhaps "proximity." This simply means "closeness". In some cultures - and I am sure this is a cultural feature and not an individual one - it is quite normal for people to stand close together, or to more or less thrust their face into yours when they are talking to you. In other cultures, this is disliked; Americans, for instance, talk about invasion of their space. 关于"非语言文字的交际"这一研究课题现在正进行相当大量的工作。比如说，这一研究课题对于经理、总管之类的人员来讲，很显然是重要的。经理之类的人员每天都必须同员工们打交道，并且必须明白，如果经理人员能创造出一个良好的工作环境，那么别人都会有什么感觉。有时可以把身体语言，或者叫非语言文字的交际信号，分成五大类：（1）身体的姿态和面部表情；（2）目光的接触；（3）身体的接触或者"亲近度"；（4）衣着打扮和天生的长相；（5）讲话的态度与内容。我想，也许除了"亲近度"而外，这一切你都明白。这就是讲"亲近到什么程度"。在某些文化习俗当中--我敢肯定这是某一民族的风俗文化的特征，而不是某一个人的习惯特征--当人们在跟你谈话时，跟你站得很近或者或多或少地把脸贴近了你的脸，这都是十分正常的。而在另外一些民族的文化习俗当中，这样做是人们所不喜欢的。例如，美国人认为你侵犯了他们的隐私空间范围。
Some signals are probably common to all of us. If a public speaker (like a professor, for example) is all the time fiddling with a pencil, or with his glasses, while he is talking to you, he is telling you quite clearly that he is nervous. A person who holds a hand over his mouth when he is talking is signalling that he is lacking in confidence. If you start wriggling in your chairs, looking secretly at your watches or yawning behind your hands, I shall soon get the message that I'm boring you. And so on. I'm sure you could make a whole list of such signals - and it might be fun if you did. 也许有信号是我们大家所共有的。如果一位公开演讲的人，在给你们作报告时，他老是在摆弄一支铅笔或者是摆弄他的眼镜，那么，他这是很清楚告诉你，他心情很紧张。一个人如果在谈话时总是用一只手罩着嘴，这就表明他缺乏自信。如果你们开始不能安稳地坐在椅子上，开始偷偷地不时看看钟表，或者你们开始用手捂住嘴打哈欠来，那么，我将会马上得到一个信息，那就是我使你们感到厌倦了。如此等等。我敢肯定你们会把这类感到厌倦的信号列出一整张纸来——如果你们现在就写的话，可能会很有趣。
All the signals I have mentioned so far can be controlled. If you are aware that you are doing these things, you can stop. You can even learn to give false signals. Most public speakers are in fact nervous, but a good speaker learns to hide this by giving off signals of confidence. Other kinds of NVC are not so easy to control. Eye contact, for instance. Unless you are confessing intense love, you hardly over look into someone else's eyes for very long. If you try it, you'll find they will soon look away, probably in embarrassment. 我上面所提到的这些信号都是人们可以控制的。如果你意识到了你正在做那些小动作，你就会停止不做了。甚至你们还能学会发生假装出来的信号。事实上绝大多数公开发表演讲的人都心情紧张，但是一位擅长演讲的人会发出自信心很强的姿态信号来掩饰紧张的心情。另外几种非语言文字的交际就不是很容易控制的了。比如说目光接触吧。除非你坦白承认你深深爱上了她，要不然的话你就不会长时间地凝视着她的眼睛。如果你将来试一试凝视她的眼睛，你就会发现她会扭转头把眼睛挪开看其他地方，也许是出于难为情吧。
I've already mentioned proximity, so just a brief word now about our last two categories, which concern the way people dress and the way they speak. These are both pretty obvious signals. People may dress casually and speak casually, which signals that they are relaxed. Or they can dress formally and speak formally, showing their tenseness. In fact, non-verbal communication can, as the saying goes, speak volumes.我上面已经把"亲近度"解释过了。现在用简明扼要的话讲讲最后两大类语言文字交际信号。这两类涉及到人们穿着的方式和讲话的方式。这两大类都是很明显的交际信号。凡是穿着随随便便而讲话又漫不经心的人，这些信号都说明这些人的心情很轻松。如果人们穿得整整齐齐地，讲起话来一本正经，这表明他们的心情很紧张很不轻松。事实上，非语言文字的交际，含义是很深的。