Types Of Nonverbal Communication

Types Of Nonverbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is defined as the process of communication by means of sending and receiving wordless messages. Non-verbal communication comprises of facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, posture and body language. Clothing and hair styles also play a significant role is this category of communication.

Speech also contains parameters known as paralanguage that include voice quality, intonation, stress, emotion and style of speaking. Likewise, written texts also incorporate non-verbal elements such as style of handwriting and spatial arrangement of words. However, research highlights that a substantial portion of our communication is nonverbal.

The first potent facet of non-verbal communication is the facial expression. The expressions on the face have the potential to showcase happiness, sadness, anger, anxiety, nervousness, surprise and fear. With the exception of a few, most facial expressions are universal.  The eyes also speak volumes about the state of mind of a person. The eyes can depict a range of emotions including interest, attraction and aversion. Looking, staring and blinking form important non-verbal behaviors. It is said that in the company of likable people, pupils tend to dilate and the rate of blinking increases.

Gestures represent deliberate movements and signals that convey feelings without the usage of words. Common gestures include waving, pointing and using fingers to indicate number amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and vary with culture. Body language and posture form the major chunk of non-verbal communication. Research on body language has grown significantly since the 1970s. Body language is extremely helpful in deciphering an open minded attitude exemplifying confidence and a closed behavior reflecting apprehension. Proxemics or personal space is of considerable value in non-verbal communication. The amount of distance one requires in between while in conversation with others is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, situational factors, personality characteristics and level of familiarity. It has been calculated by experts that the amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to 4 feet. On the other hand, the personal distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.

The next parameter of non-verbal communication is paralinguistics. This factor refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes dynamics such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection and pitch. The tone of voice can have a powerful impact on the meaning of a sentence. A strong tone of voice is interpreted as approval and enthusiasm; while the same words spoken in a hesitant tone might convey disapproval and a lack of interest. Haptics form another feature of non-verbal communication. A lot can be conveyed through touch. There has been a substantial amount of research on the importance of touch in infancy and early childhood. It has been observed that deprivation of touch and contact impedes development. The final aspect of non-verbal communication is highlighted by the appearance of an individual. The choice of color, clothing, hairstyles and related factors affecting the appearance also play a role in conveying emotions. Research on color psychology has demonstrated that different colors have the probability to invoke different moods. Appearance can also modify one’s physiological reactions, judgment and interpretations.

We often give overt importance to words. Not knowing that the real impression is carried by several other dynamics of our personality.

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Types Of Nonverbal Communication