Nonverbal Communication as a Form of Communication

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Nonverbal communication is the process of communicating through sending and receiving message which is not encoded in words. It is also known as a two-way communication by sender and receiver. It includes facial expression, body language, gesture, and eye contact. It is also known as an effective form of communication which we send and interpret every day in many different content. Moreover, It is powerful than verbal communication because it convey the emotions, attitudes and reactions of a person and revel feeling, preference, liking, more spontaneously. According to History Channel in its documentary show called Secrets of Body Language (2009), revel that 93% of our communication is non-verbal which means that by knowingly or unknowingly we are making it.

Type of Non-Verbal Communication

There are many ways in which we communicate and some of them are understandable than other. To make it clearer, there are three types of nonverbal message:

Personal nonverbal communication

Personal nonverbal communication is the use of nonverbal actions in a way which is different or personal for a person. In our personal lives many of us make countless number of communication from morning kiss to dressing nice for an interview, school, business, or anything without knowingly. Based on this experience, people make preference in certain behaviour like a person dress or image. Some people might laugh or other cry as a form of expressing their nervousness when they are around with these things. For example, one person wants to wear black suits in a party but he wear blue while another individual wear black and here first person uses different nonverbal actions.

Cultural Nonverbal communication

Cultural Nonverbal communication is another types of communication which is learned by observing and getting direct instruction or imitating other culture unconsciously. In order to belong, individuals share and conform to the beliefs, values and behaviour of the culture. Moreover, in many Asian and African culture, for instance, people show respect by looking down or making less eye contact elders whereas in western culture, it is regarded as being disrespectful. But by developing culture awareness and sensitivity, we can create positive intercultural relationship.

Universal nonverbal communication

Universal nonverbal communication is behaviour which is common to humankind such as smiling or crying. A person who is smiling or crying can be known with their facial expression or gesture as an indicator of emotions and happiness. Although their timing, energy and use might be different, they have same expression when they do it.

Role of Nonverbal Communication in Communication

Nonverbal communication plays important role in communication from attracting a business partner in a business interview to interacting with the teacher school. In one study by Bridwhistell (1970) it was found that average person speak about 10 to 11 minutes in a day. He concluded that they carry about one-third of their verbal component and the rest are nonverbal components.

There are different ways we can add meaning and modifies or change spoken words in communication and they are as follows:

  • Repeating
    For examples: pointing when giving direction
  • Contradicting
    For examples: looking at your watch and backing away while telling someone, “I’m very interested in what you’re saying ”.
  • Substituting
    For examples: using facial expression as substitute for words, to show pleasure or disagree.
  •  Complementing
    For examples: Modifying, emphasising or elaborating words in a way that conveys attitudes and intentions; e.g. a person who disrespects another may stand in a casual way or use a tone of voice that conveys a lack of respect when talking with this person.
  • Accenting for examples: Moving the head and hands to emphasise parts of the verbal message; e.g. shaking the head as you say ‘No’.
  • Controlling the flow of information for examples : Nodding the head or changing bodily position can indicate to the speaker to continue or to give the other person a turn.

Aspects of Nonverbal Communication

Unlike verbal communication, nonverbal communication is more powerful in sending messages. It includes body movement like: eye, head, feet, hand, arm, leg movement and facial expression. For instance, a person pointing finger, leaning forward is seen as dominating or showing unimportant to expensive items show nervousness or lack of interest. Secondly, we have physical character, in any form communication our first impressions of someone can be link with the first past experience of people with the similar characters. They play important role in making good communication, for example, people respond to certain factors such as the type of body, skin, colour, odour, and smell.

Moreover, touching shows feelings such as affections, sexual interest or dominance. Hand gesture demonstrate interest or sometime dominance or equality on the person and holding or guiding, stroking the movement of another person are some examples of touching behaviour which we communicate nonverbally. Furthermore, vocal qualities which effect on how something is said, rather than what is said. Vocalisations, the tone of voice, the rate of speaking and voice inflation are the important part of the total message. For examples are pitch range, pitch control, tempo, and articulation control and to understand more clear if a tried person speak slowly than it might disappoint person who speak flat tone. It means that vocal tone effect on how we deliver our speech. Furthermore, space (proximity) which means nearness in term of place and sometimes personal space might varies according to gender, culture so people use height and weight to convey message.

Finally, Artefacts are objects used to convey nonverbal messages about self-concept, image, mood, feelings or style. Many artefacts are common to the group. Others (particularly clothing) are an individual, highly visible part of nonverbal communication that can create a positive or negative first impression.

Nonverbal Communication on Speaking and Listening

There is a good relationship between nonverbal communication, speaking and listening skills. For example, in a sales interview candidates normally make happy face and focus on their body language. It is because they wants to create comfort environment to express their thoughts and ideas. The same thing applies to the meetings, presentations, programs and etc. where people take the advantage of both way communication.
There are scenario when nonverbal communication effect on speaking and listening skills. For example, If a teacher is giving a presentation about global warming and he looks tired, and slow than only very few students would pay attention because it lacks interest to the listeners. Even the communication is not done in a proper way to make it look boring.


It is concluded that Nonverbal communication is very important form of communication which we make in our daily life. From sending messages to making decisions we frequently applies nonverbal communication. It is noticed that words and speak are not made use while making this communication. It is also noticed that nonverbal communication is more superior form of communication in compare to verbal and about 95 percentage of our communication is nonverbal. Therefore, different types and aspects of nonverbal communication are important by which proper communication can be made.

Cite this paper

Nonverbal Communication as a Form of Communication. (2020, Oct 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/nonverbal-communication-as-a-form-of-communication/

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