Types of nonverbal communication – (with Examples and Diagrams)

Types of nonverbal communication

Our communication with others is not limited to speaking or writing, rather there are many Types of nonverbal communication involved in communication as we communicate with others in listening or speaking. 

I have gone through a thorough research on the Types of nonverbal communication, and now preparing this summary I have gathered from different resources and my personal observation. 

Consciously or unconsciously we all make nonverbal communication almost everyday in order to communicate our thoughts, emotions, ideas to others. Having a sound understanding of Types of nonverbal communication will make you a better communicator  to be respected and recognized in your surroundings.

The types of nonverbal communication are:

  • Facial Expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Gestures or Kinesics or body movements
  • Posture
  • Paralinguistic
  • Proxemics or closeness or personal space
  • Haptics or touch
  • Appearance
  • Artifacts
  • Time managing

TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Facial Expressions
  2. Eye contact
  3. Gestures or Kinesics or body movements
  4. Posture
  5. Paralinguistic
  6. Proxemics or closeness or personal space
  7. Haptics or touch
  8. Appearance
  9. Artifacts
  10. Time managing
  11. Final Thoughts on ‘Types of nonverbal communication’

1. Facial Expressions

Facial expression is considered as the key in the nonverbal communication, as our eyes  first go to the face before we listen. So the first impression is made by face, this is the reason having a sound knowledge and comprehensive understanding about facial expression will not only help you to detect the other people’s  emotional state and thoughts, but also enable you to express your emotion and thought in a much more productive manner. 

Where other non verbal Communications may change it’s pattern in different cultures and regions,  facial expressions are almost universal like  expressions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger etc.

Facial expression has enough ability to express likes, dislikes, interest, honesty and emotional feelings like joy, sadness, anger and fear. 

As example, while you are talking to people you may have a strong guess of the interest of that person through the facial expression.

When you face an interview or talk to a crowd for the first time, your facial expression displays your confidence or fear.

2. Eye Contact

Our eyes can speak many things, we can easily detect one’s interest and disinterest from eye contact, a continuous gaze towards you without distracting on different sides proves that your words are actually interesting to the listener. In the opposite manner, when you find that your listener is not establishing good eye contact with you, it is a clear signal that they are not attentive because your words are not interesting enough to them.

It is a common manner to establish eye contact with the audience you are communicating to. Not making eye contact while talking may cause severe humiliation or disrespect towards the audience. 

Not establishing eye contact also proves that you don’t like the listener, when you dislike a person, you are reluctant to establish eye contact with such a person. 

When you are communicating to a group of people, you must shift your eye contact to everyone in a balanced manner, or else it proves that you are ignoring the people whom you are not making eye contact to.  

This is the reason, while you are having interview time with a group of people or communicating to a group of listeners, it is crucial that you shift your eye contact to everyone. It helps in creating a quality communication. 

3. Gestures or Kinesics or body movements

Making too much of body movement or too little of body movement both can cause a poor nonverbal communication.

Suppose your interviewer or boss is talking to you and you are shaking your legs, what does it prove, it displays your mannerlessness or not seriousness.

Again when you are talking about an interesting topic and making no body movement, what does it make, it simply establishes a boring communication. 

Developing an attitude of making right body movements makes your communication more effective and productive.

You might have seen people talking to a large crowd most of the time makes some sort of body movements like walking and talking, or sometimes sitting and standing, all these creates a motion in the eyes of the listener and makes them active in listening. 

In order to develop the professional level of body movement or gestures, you need to observe the gestures displayed and maintained by the other professionals, also watch the interview videos and public speaking videos. 

4. Posture

 Posture is a particular approach or attitude in which a person holds his or her body in different positions when sitting or standing. 

Your postures can either impress or disappoint others. 

How you sit or stand reveals a lot about your professionalism. 

Standing and sitting straight during the communication is considered as professional or formal behaviour in the offices and workplaces.

Whereas sitting with a relaxed mood or standing with a leaning and relaxed manner is considerable during informal communication with friends and family.

Maintaining good and quality postures during the interview or talking with colleagues in office and seniors plays an important role in nonverbal communication. 

5. Paralinguistic

Paralinguistics is all about communicating through tone of voice, pitch and loudness. 

Our vocal communication is greatly impacted by the way we deliver our voice.

With the loudness you talk to your friends and family may not be considered suitable to your office or workplace. Again the loudness you use during the communication in the office or workplace  may not be suitable to your personal or social life. 

Talking too loudly to your senior or boss or to the interviewer might be considered very much inappropriate and insulting. 

The tone of voice is also an important factor in nonverbal communication. The tone you use while speaking to a child is not accepted in the formal professional world. 

Using a childish or immature tone of communication can express a negative image in the workplace.

6. Proxemics or closeness or personal space

How do you feel when someone gets too close to you? 

There is a certain space around us we consider as our own and do not want to share with everyone, this is called personal space. 

Proxemics is all about the study of space that we like to maintain with different groups of people regarding the relations. 

In our day to day life, we do or don’t feel comfortable with sharing our personal space with others. 

In a professional workplace, we don’t feel comfortable with getting people too close to us, whereas at home with friends and family, we feel more comfortable in getting close to us.

Having a good understanding of personal space management helps us to make our nonverbal communication more effective.  

7. Haptics or touch

Haptic is an integral part of nonverbal communication, where people or animals communicate with others using the sense of touch. 

Having a good understanding of haptics or communication through touch is a very essential part of effective communication. 

There is a certain situation and environment where we communicate through touch for better communication or touch can be comfortable to others, but there is also a situation where communication can not be established through touch or touch can be uncomfortable or offending to others. 

Let us understand this with examples, when a parent touch the child in order to comfort or express the pride for well done, it is comfortable and positive nonverbal communication but when a colleague try to touch you in the workplace, you may feel very uncomfortable, this is a bad nonverbal communication that other is trying to establish with you. 

In the professional workplace, touch can be a serious negative nonverbal means of communication. 

8. Appearance

Most of the time consciously or unconsciously, we make nonverbal communication with others through our appearance. 

How we dress, our hairstyle, color of our clothes, cleanliness, tidiness etc all are the means of nonverbal communication where appearance conveys a lot of information about us regarding who we are. 

Our appearance differs according to the place and people group.

Let us see some examples to understand this more clearly.

The way you stay and display your appearance at home and in the office or on special occasions are not the same. At home or with your friends and family, you may not be so tidy and it is just fine but when you appear in the same manner in your workplace, it is a serious damage to your self-esteem or respect.

9. Artifacts

Artifacts can also be considered as a means of nonverbal communication. The way we design our workplace or in online work from home scenario, our workplace at home talks a lot of things about us. 

The way people decorate their body through ornaments or decorate their home, car, or work area reveals a lot about that person.    

10. Time managing

Handling the time appropriately also refers to a nonverbal communication method where you understand the value of others time and communicate accordingly.

Suppose you are allowed to take a certain amount of time in a meeting, if you cross the time limit and take others time, it is bad nonverbal communication.

Being present on time, completing your task on time, all these reveals good nonverbal communication.

11. Final Thoughts on ‘Types of nonverbal communication’

  • Maintaining appropriate Facial Expressions is one of most important types of nonverbal communication. 
  • You must be careful enough regarding your Eye contact while communicating with others.
  • Good Gestures or Kinesics or body movements reflect a positive image of you in the nonverbal communication. 
  • Your Posture reveals how professional you are in your workplace. Remember your posture is watched, judged and measured by others in your surrounding.
  • Paralinguistic or the tone, pitch and loudness of your voice plays an essential role in nonverbal communication. 
  • Learning to be aware of others Proxemics or personal space and not invading them proves you more professional and respected.
  • Haptics or touch can be comfortable or uncomfortable according to place and people group, understanding this makes you a better nonverbal communicator.
  • Your Appearance before others talks a lot about you, about your professional or unprofessional behavior.
  • Artifacts created by you in your surrounding display help others to understand your likes and interests. 
  • Time is valuable to everyone so managing time and not occupying others time makes you smarter and a good nonverbal communicator. 

Let me know your suggestion in the comment section below for adding more life to this article for growing together and helping other to grow.

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