Types Of Non Verbal Communication

  • Post last modified:27 April 2022
  • Reading time:17 mins read

What Is Non Verbal Communication?

Non-verbal communication is the sending or receiving of wordless messages. We can say that communication other than oral and written, as gesture, body language, posture, tone of voice or facial expressions, is called non-verbal communication.

Non Verbal Communication
Non Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication helps receiver in interpreting the message received. Frequently, non-verbal signals reflect the situation more accurately than verbal messages. Sometimes non-verbal response contradicts verbal communication and thus affects the effectiveness of message.

Meaning of Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is communication without using words or speech. Non-verbal communication is thus the wordless message received through the medium of gestures, signs, body movements, facial expressions, tone of voice, colour, time, space, style of writing, etc. Non-verbal communication is also called silent language or the language of signs and gestures.

We can define non-verbal communication in the following ways:

  • Non-verbal communication is communication through any means other than words.

  • It is the transmission of message by some medium other than speech or writing.

  • It refers to all external stimuli other than the spoken or written words and that includes body motion, characteristics of voice, appearance, and space distancing.

  • It is the communication that uses non-linguistic means to convey the message.

  • It refers to the transfer of meaning by body-language, space, time and paralanguage.

Elements Of Non Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication has the following three elements:

  1. Appearance: Speaker: clothing, hairstyle, neatness, use of cosmetics.

  2. Surrounding: room size, lighting, decorations, furnishings.

  3. Body Language: Facial expressions, gestures, postures.

  4. Sounds: Voice tone, Volume, Speech rate.

Non-verbal communication, or body language, is a critical form of communication – a natural, unconscious language that broadcasts our true feelings and purposes in any given moment, and clues us in to the feelings and intentions of those around us.


Types of Non verbal Communication

There are many different types of non-verbal communication. Unitedly, the following non-verbal signals and cues convey your interest and investment in others.

7 Types of Non verbal communication are briefly explained below:

Facial expressions

The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of non-verbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.

Body movements and posture

Believe how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a wealth of information to the world. This type of non-verbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and elusive movements.

Gestures

Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing or speaking animatedly – expressing ourselves with gestures often without thinking. Nevertheless, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.

Eye contact

Because the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is a particularly important type of non-verbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also crucial in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s response.

Touch

We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the messages given by the following: a firm handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, an assuring pat on the back, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on your arm.

Space

Have you ever felt uneasy during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending upon the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different non-verbal messages, including signals of intimacy, aggression, dominance, or affection.

Voice

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to heeding to our words. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace, how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding, such as “ahh” and “uh-huh.”

Example: Think about how tone of voice, can show sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.


Tips for Reading Body Language and Non-verbal Communication

Once you’ve developed your powers to manage stress and recognize emotions, you’ll naturally become better at reading the non-verbal signals sent by others.

  1. Pay attention to inconsistencies: Non-verbal communication should reinforce what is being said. Is the person is saying one thing, and their body language something else? Example: Are they telling you “yes” while shaking their head no?

  2. Look at non-verbal communication signals as a group: Don’t read too much into a single motion or non-verbal cue. Believe all of the non-verbal signals you are receiving, from eye contact to tone of voice and body language. Taken together, are their nonverbal cues consistent – or inconsistent – with what their words are saying?

  3. Trust your instincts: Don’t ignore your gut feelings. If you get the sense that someone isn’t being honest or that something isn’t adding up, you may be picking up on a mismatch between verbal and non-verbal cues.

Relationship between Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

Relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication centers on substitution, complementing, conflict, and accenting which are explained as under:

The substitution relationship

When we nod our head up and down in approval of an action, we mean “yes” without using the word. Here we have substituted nonverbal sign for verbal sign.

The complementing relationship

When we say ‘no’ and at the same time shake our head from side-to-side to reinforce the negative verbalization, we are complementing the verbal message.

The conflict relationship

When action conflicts with verbal message, we tend to rely more on the nonverbal communication. Since much nonverbal communication is below our level of awareness, non-verbal clues are often harder to fade than verbal ones.

The noted psychologist Sigmund Freud once said, “A person who has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chats with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore”.

The accenting relationship

Just as highlighted words emphasize written ideas, non-verbal behaviour may accent parts of a verbal message. “Look at me”, when we say jabbing someone’s shoulder with a pointing finger, we are accenting or modulating our verbal message with a non-verbal sign.


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