Non-Verbal Communication

Nonverbal communication can include things such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, tone of voice, and even the way we dress. Human beings are characterized by being complex species with numerous ways of relating to each other. We have developed a complex communication system based on expressing our thoughts and emotions through signs, sounds, and gestures. Language is part of our lives and essential to surviving and living in society.

We immediately think of written or spoken words whenever we talk about communication. However, language can also be based on gestures and non-verbal elements. This article will discuss the types of non-verbal communication: definition and examples.

Non-verbal communication means sharing your idea, thoughts, skills, and information without using words. This kind of communication is done with the help of body language, gestures, appearance, etc., to show your emotions and thoughts. Non-verbal communication is also used to contradict verbal communication as it helps to show your feelings more accurately and effectively. This communication mode encompasses many gestures, postures, sounds, and behaviors that provide us with all kinds of messages.

The non-verbal code

We use gestures in our day-to-day life to point to anything. We express endless emotions with our faces and strive to maintain a physical appearance to give a message to the world… in short, non-verbal communication is much more present than we think. Nonverbal signs are communication factors that can become more important than words. This can occur in people who tend to lie or hide things. The body does not lie.

For example: if we are in a situation that we perceive as dangerous, we can communicate to others that we are not afraid. However, our body may express the opposite through tremors, sweat, and muscle tension.
The non-verbal code also supports verbal communication. In fact, great speakers like politicians or artists continually use non-verbal communication to validate their spoken speech.

Differences Between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

If we define non-verbal communication as that in which gestures and facial expressions predominate, we understand that verbal communication will be just the opposite. The spoken and written language in which we use words is verbal communication. Although the objective is the same (to transmit some type of information), the essence of each communication style lies in the tools we use to express ourselves.

One of the significant differences between verbal and nonverbal communication lies in our ability to control each. We could say that spoken language is the easiest to maintain. Thanks to language acquisition and cognitive development, we know what each word means in our language and what combination of letters we should use to give a specific message. However, body language and expressions are unconscious in nature and older than verbal communication. As we discussed earlier, the body does not lie.

In short, we could say that words and our ability to control the message define the difference between verbal and non-verbal communication.

Types of Non-Verbal Language: Examples


The movements of the extremities, the hands, or a simple gesture of the head are part of this type of communication. They usually accompany language. However, we can also use them independently to point to objects, make hand gestures, and number elements…

Facial Expressions

Your facial expressions and eye contact show your emotions like anger, joy, care, surprise, uncertainty, etc. It helps your receiver understand the actual meaning of your message as sometimes, we use the exact words for both happy and angry situations, so facial expressions determine what we want to say to someone.

Sometimes, without speaking a single word, our facial expressions are enough to convey a message to someone. For example, we show angry expressions on our faces to kids if they are doing bad things. They look at their parent’s angry faces and do not perform what he is going to do.

Body position

Body posture can indicate a person’s attitude toward the conversation or social interaction they are experiencing. For example, an individual with a swollen torso and a slightly forward-leaning body may attempt to be defiant in conversation.

Physical appearance

We all take care, even a little, of our physical appearance before going out. It is part of the social importance we give to the external appearance and the message we want to provide the world. The act of dressing according to a particular code increases our feeling of belonging to a group (for example, in adolescent urban cultures) or represents a letter of introduction to a specific set of people (such as the dress code in a job interview). Worked).

Paralanguage or sounds

When we speak of paralanguage, we refer to the content of speech that is not part of verbal language. The tone of voice, the speed of speech, and the volume are also essential elements in oral communication. We can give the same message using two different styles, and the same message will change radically.

Haptic and Proxemic

These terms refer to the proximity of the interlocutor (proxemic) and physical contact (haptic). The more trust we have with a person or the more tranquility we want to convey, the more proximity and connection with that person we will increase. Nonverbal language can be very revealing and help us facilitate our personal relationships if we analyze each element well.

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