Types Of Communication Skills

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Oral presentation is one basic activities for students at a university during learning to develop effective presentation skills, which will help the student to be able to deliver information or to contribute to general teaching in class. For a student to have a good oral presentation he or she should include both non verbal communication elements to compliment verbal communication, since presentation performs a service to the listener as well as the presenter to present a plan or idea effectively. Although there are various dimensions of non verbal communication at the disposal of a presenter, for the purposes of this assignment, the writer will focus of kinesics and visual aids among many other elements

Non Verbal Communication Elements in a Presentation

Non verbal communication is behaviour, other than spoken or written communication, that creates or represents meaning. It is very effective, maybe even more so than speech as most people summarise its significance through the phrase, “Actions speaks louder than words.’’ According to Hans and Hans (2015) non verbal communication include those important but unspoken signals that individuals exhibit, specifically: body language (encompassing carriage or posture, appearance, listening, and eye contact), hand gestures, and facial expressions. Non verbal communication sometimes reinforces meaning conveyed by words although sometimes it can communicate something totally divorced from what actions convey (Burgoon, 1994). In many situations people tend to hide their feelings behind carefully chosen words.

A non verbal message is a subconscious response of the body. Therefore, it cannot be easily controlled and is likely to be more genuine. There are different elements of non verbal communication that can be used in a presentation. The writer will guide the student to engage on two elements in his or her presentation which are kinesics (gestures, head movements, eye contact, and facial expressions) and visual aids (photographs, tables, diagrams, charts, drawings and video sequences). By employing the mentioned elements it will help the presentation to be more powerful and convincing while also eradicating possible communication barriers.

There are various categories of Kinesics in the non verbal communication element. According to Hans and Hans (2015) kinesics means “movement” and refers to the study of hand, arm, body, and face movements. It outlines the use of gestures, head movements and posture, eye contact, and facial expressions that can be used during a presentation to encourage a supportive and collaborative atmosphere between the presenter and the audience. To deliver a good presentation, a speaker’s gestures must be purposeful even if they’re performed unconsciously. However, if the presenter’s physical actions are distracting or suggest meanings that do not agree with his or her verbal message his or her body can defeat the words.

To become an effective speaker, the presenter must understand how his or her body speaks. They must be visible to the audience. They must mean the same thing to the audience that they mean to the speaker. And they must reflect what’s being said, as well as the total personality behind the message. On kinesics, there is use of facial expressions. As argued by Hans and Hans (2015), the face is more highly developed as an organ of expression in humans than any other animal. Some of these become quite habitual, almost fixed into the chronic muscular structure of the face. Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of non verbal communication and hence the reason why people always pay attention to these in order to read the effect of what is being communicated on them and it can communicate an array of different emotions.

A presenter through different facial expressions can show attitudes, feelings and emotions which are critical for the audience to deduce the confidence, experience and preparedness of the presenter. Similarly a presenter can also determine whether the audiences are still following or understanding what is being presented through facial expressions. Having a pensive audience might mean that they are listening attentively or they do not understand the subject at all. If we judge the facial expressions just from our own experiences or images, it is likely to cause misunderstandings. Therefore, we need to observe, ask and try to find out the meanings of the facial expressions, especially when one is presenting in a different culture.

Eye contact also known as oculesics is another category of kinesics in which Knapp and Hall (2002; 349) defines as “an individual’s looking behaviour, which may or may not be at the other.’’ When you speak, you involve your listeners with your eyes, making your presentation direct, personal and conversational. It is thus important for a presenter during an oral presentation to always look at the audiences as a way of creating a bond. As argued by Dimbleby and Burton (1998), no matter how large an audience may be, there is need to maintain eye contact as a way of ensuring that each listener feels important and senses a personal connection between him or her and the presenter. Again through the eye, the presenter will have an influence on the listeners’ attentiveness and concentration. It is also important to highlight that in an oral presentation, one has to take into consideration the differences in culture as for example in certain cultures lack of eye contact is considered a sign of respect. Yet in many countries, very little or no eye contact during an encounter, is a signal of extreme disrespect. Sometimes, it is an effort to avoid an increase of negative emotions.

Visual Aids is another element of non verbal communication which is essential in making a presentation powerful and understandable (University of Lester, 2009). People usually believe in seeing and therefore visual aids aid to the visualisation and understanding of what is being presented. As highlighted earlier on, visual aids in a presentation include photographs, tables, diagrams, charts, drawings and video sequences which might also include the use of Microsoft Power Point. This means that if one uses visual aids the words and images presented in different formats can appeal directly to audience’s imagination, adding power to the spoken words. Visual aids can help the presenter to accomplish certain goals in a presentation such as making the presentation more interesting, communicate complex or intriguing information in a short period of time, strengthen verbal message just to mention a few. For instance, in a Development Studies lecture, one can play a video showing the still images, audios and videos of the various communities of the victims of Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani.

The visual aids in this instance are important in helping the audiences to capture the images of the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai rather than one trying to describe the situation on the ground. A presenter can show images of destroyed homes, footages of surviving members who lost their loved ones and images of the destroyed bridges and dams. Apart from appealing to the audiences, a presenter is also in control of the presentation. When using visual aids, the presenter must make sure that visual aids are; simple, use contrasting colours to create a dynamic effect, use large, bold fonts that the audience can read from afar and other hints. On the other hand, visual aids can also run the risk of dominating a presentation. As a speaker, one will need to consider his or her audience and how the portrayal of images, text, graphic, animated sequences, or sound files will contribute or weaken the presentation. The presenter must choose visual aids wisely such as working with familiar tools rather than using aids that one is not familiar with.


In conclusion, whatever vocal strengths and speaking skills one might have, his or her ability to visually communicate ideas through gestures and other forms of body expression will enhance not just one’s presentation, but his or her effectiveness as a speaker. Use of visual aids in a presentation helps to display complex information clearly. Even though non verbal communication might be difficult to understand and lack formal rules, consequently its use makes the information easy to present and understand for the audience.


  1. Burgoon, J, etal (1994) Non verbal communication: the unspoken dialogue, Columbus, OH: Greyden Press.
  2. Dimbleby, R and Burton, G. (1998) More than words; An introduction to communication, London: Psychology Press.
  3. Hans, A. and Hans, E. (2015) “Kinesics, Haptics and Proxemics: Aspects of Non -Verbal Communication’’, Humanities and Social Science, 20 (2):47-52.
  4. Johnson, M.H. and Senju, A. (2008) The eye contact effect: Mechanisms and development, London: Elsevier.
  5. Knapp, M. L., Hall, J. A. and Horgan, T.G. (2002) Non Verbal Communication in Human Interaction, Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
  6. Loehr, D. P. (2004) Gesture and Intonation, Washington DC: Georgetown University.
  7. University of Leicester (2009) Using Visual Learning, Available at https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/study-guides-pdfs/presentation-skills, Accessed on 30/08/19.

Cite this paper

Types Of Communication Skills. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/communication-skills-essay/



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