Nonverbal Communication


What is Nonverbal Communication?

Overall, Nonverbal Communication is defined as the process of using wordless messages to generate meaning.

The use of Nonverbal Communication can create a whole new meaning to a message.

Sometimes, it takes Nonverbal Communication to relay a message in order to communicate it in a more understanding way.


Why Is Nonverbal Communication Important?

The usage of Nonverbal Communication can clarify even the toughest messages to understand.

When speaking with a person, it makes a difference to see them and understand the way that they are feeling

based not only through their words, but also through their gestures, expressions, and all characteristics

that fit into the Nonverbal Communication category. I

n addition, nonverbal cues can sometimes be more meaningful than words themselves.

However, when put together, a message is then complete.

Nonverbal Communication completes communication as a whole.


The Forms of Nonverbal Communication:


Space involves the concept of Proxemics,  (meaning the study of space and distance).

There are different forms of space used for different times, places, and situations that communication takes place.

  • Intimate, Personal, Social and Public distances make up the concept of space.Intimate distances are those of 18 in. and used by those who are closest to you.
  • Personal distances are often 18 in. to 4 ft. This distance is common for casual conversation.
  • Social distances range from 4 ft. to 12 ft. and are often used in less personal situations such as those in the workplace
  • Finally, there are Public distances. These distances exceed 12 ft. and is often used for situations involving public speaking or lecturing. This distance is used to reach mass numbers of individuals at a non-intimate level.Image

Facial expressions are a very common type of nonverbal communication.Nonverbal communication is communicating without the use of words or sounds.Some examples would be smiling to indicate happiness, a frown to indicate sadness, and a furrowed brow to indicate puzzlement or perhaps anger. There are other forms of this as well.You can hug someone to express joy, or yawn to express boredom or tiredness.Sometimes you may not even realize you are projecting these feelings as you may do them involuntarily.


Silence : As a form of Non verbal communication
“We cannot not Communicate”


Oculesics or Eye Behavior

The eyes are frequently referred to as the “windows to the soul” since they are capable of revealing a great deal about what a person if feeling or thinking. As you engage in conversation with another person, taking note of eye movements is a natural and important part of the communication process. Some common things you may note is whether people are making direct eye contact or averting their gaze, how much they are blinking, or if their pupils are dilated.

When evaluating body language, pay attention to the follow eye signals:

  • Eye gaze

When a person looks directly into your eyes when having a conversion, it indicates that they are interested and paying attention. However, prolonged eye contact can feel threatening. On the other hand, breaking eye contact and frequently looking away may indicate that the person is distracted, uncomfortable, or trying to conceal his or her real feelings.

  • Blinking

Blinking is natural, but you should also pay attention to whether a person is blinking too much or too little. People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable. Infrequent blinking may indicate that a person is intentionally trying to control his or her eye movements. For example, a poker player might blink less frequently because he is purposely trying to appear unexcited about the hand he was dealt.

  • Pupil size

One of the most subtle cues that eyes provide is through the size of the pupils. While light levels in the environment control pupil dilation, sometimes emotions can also cause small changes in pupil size. For example, you may have heard the phase “bedroom eyes” used to describe the look someone gives when they are attracted to another person.


Other Forms of Non Verbal Communication



Touching or Haptics :

This is also called  Tactile Communication, which is the use of touch within communication. As with any other form of nonverbal cues, there is a right and a wrong situation for touching. With family members whom you are close to, you may hug or hold their hand when trying to relay a message to them. However, in the workplace, people are often clear of tactile communication unless paired with business gestures such as a hand shake.


Haptic communication is a form of nonverbal communication and the way by which people and other animals communicate via touching. Touch, or the haptic sense, is extremely important for humans; as well as providing information about surfaces and textures it is a component of nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships, and vital in conveying physical intimacy.

There are six different kinds of “touch”. These include: positive, playful, control, ritualistic, task-related and unintentional. It can be both sexual (kissing is one such example that is sometimes sexual) and platonic (such as hugging or tickling). Touch is the earliest sense to develop in the fetus. The development of an infant’s haptic senses and how it relates to the development of the other senses such as vision has been the target of much research. Human babies have been observed to have enormous difficulty surviving if they do not possess a sense of touch, even if they retain sight and hearing. Babies who can perceive through touch, even without sight and hearing, tend to fare much better.


Chronemics:  Refers to nonverbal communication of time.



Paralanguage is a component of meta-communication that may modify or nuance meaning, or convey emotion, such as prosody, pitch, volume, intonation etc. It is sometimes defined as relating to nonphonemic properties only. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously. The study of paralanguage is known as paralinguistics.
It refers on how you say your intended meanings and not what you say.

Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.


Kinesics or Body Movement

All movements of the body have meaning (i.e. are not accidental), and that these non-verbal forms of language (or paralanguage) have a grammar that can be analyzed in similar terms to spoken language. Thus, a “kineme” is “similar to a phoneme because it consists of a group of movements which are not identical, but which may be used interchangeably without affecting social meaning”.



Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.

Making the most of your body language

Communicating with someone close does not only involve talking and listening.

You communicate your love for your partner or spouse nonverbally with your body, by:

  • making and holding eye contact
  • holding hands
  • smiling, laughing
  • winking
  • ouching, stroking, cuddling, embracing
  • kissing



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