Don’t Speak- The Art of Non-Verbal Communication

Wayne State University medical students recently learned to be better communicators-by not talking.

Led by the world-renowned Emerson String Quartet, medical students had the opportunity to learn to communicate with each other through the subtle art of gestures, eye movement, and breathing.

While these skills may develop more naturally through the immersion in a string quartet where raising one’s eyebrows can indicate for the group to speed up, or a leaning forward from the violinist might mean to emphasize a certain rhythm, this might not always be the case for doctors.

Recognizing, that doctors, like many of us, don’t always practice the skill of communication, Dr. Levine collaborated with the Emerson String Quartet to enhance the students’ communication skills.

“We want to bring this to the doctor-patient relationship and the interprofessional team. We don’t practice communicating,” Dr. Levine said.

The students observed the interaction of the string quartet, observed a rehearsal and participated in a discussion about their observations.

What an excellent example of creativity, collaboration, and multi-disciplinary thinking.

For more information, please see the full article at Wayne State Today.

Questions for Discussion

  1.  What are some examples of nonverbal communication?
  2.  Why does Dr. Levine feel that learning communication is so important?
  3.  Why is nonverbal communication essential in a string quartet?
  4. What are other groups that rely on nonverbal communication to be successful?
  5. How can you practice communication skills in your daily life?
  6. In the article, what does “akin” mean?

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