Body-language and nonverbal communication

Chinese language is body-language -interrupting communication- (4)

Chinese language is body-language – interrupting communication- (4)

Volker once told me about this specific difficulty when filming in China. He remembered the time when he did a documentation film on psychotherapy in China. There were many people who sat in the room, his camera “pointed” to a person, standing, who talked about an experience. After some time this person stopped talking, so that Volker after some time tried to focus on another person, who was moving a little or, as it seemed to be, was probably the next to talk about his experience. Doing this  led to the point of missing an important moment. The Chinese who had talked and stopped talking suddenly went on talking, went on talking in a way as if he had not interrupted his presented experience. And it was important what he talked about.

In Germany or probably in other Western countries we get a feeling of ………………..how long a person talks. This includes a feeling for the moment when he interrupts his talk or makes a pause and goes on talking or stops talking, so that another one can talk.

Volker, being used to his exprience in Western countries,  said, that it is a very big problem filming in China when facing this, the specific Chinese way of talking, making a pause and go on talking. The space between the last words and the first word which follows after probably after quite a long time  is too long for the western understanding of communication. Volker put it like this: If somebody talks the camera is focused on this person. If the person stops talking for a little while, a “western camera” has to move to another person, to a person with movement or facial expression or the person who starts talking. A time slot of silence or a sequence of not moving which is too long is not familiar for Western people in Media.   (Communication and performance on TV or in a film)

This is very different to the experience in China. At least when you judge communication it is obviously part of Chinese communication that this behavior of the psychotherapist, talking about the experience, being silent and then go on talking again, is typical for Chinese communication and relationship.

You can imagine how difficult it is as a Western filmer to give an authentic impression of Chinese communication when you realize what I just described and explained. Either ther is not so much movement in similar situations or Western TV will not present this kind of program.

To focus it: the experience of many Western is irritation when they face such a sudden start or sudden stop or sudden break in communication, being together with the Chinese, being related. A sudden break or stop often comes so sudden that a Western person does not feel connected neither on the level of content nor on the level of relationship. Western people in so far experience this as an interruption, as a modus of distance or emotional discomfort. But it seems that this behavior  is very familiar for a Chinese people.

I wonder how will a western person feels inside when experiences such a sudden start, such a sudden break, such a sudden stop in (nonverbal) communication. I, to be honest, was very shocked in the beginning of such experience with Chinese and also surprised as well as helpless, because I did not feel save in the relationship and in this kind of communication. I experience this as some kind of rejection. When I imagine some western person experiencing a similar kind of felt rejection this person has to have a good self-confidence to go one with a respectful communication, to go on relating to Chinese people.

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