Communication is very important because it is the process of sharing information, ideas, and opinions. It makes teams bond stronger, get to know each other and find solutions to problems.
Effective communication and correctly identifying the nonverbal cues when having meetings or hot discussions is essential. We often try to hide our emotions, feelings, and ideas but our bodies still send some subtle messages.
Establishing relationships on a professional and personal level requires effective communication abilities. Verbal and nonverbal communication are the two main categories and this blog will focus mainly on the non-verbal aspect of communication.
Nonverbal communication is frequently unintentional but may reveal a great deal about individuals and situations, even though most of us are aware of it and utilize it frequently.
Learning the types of nonverbal communication means that you can get better at reading body language. However odd it may seem; we all display behaviors that have the same function during stressful situations and not only. Emotions are universal.
What is nonverbal communication?
Nonverbal communication or body language is the use of gestures, tone of voice, expressions, body posture, and so on to send a message. But why are these wireless cues so important to identify?
Body language is an essential part of communication and it helps you send an emotion or feeling to other people.
Depending on how you sound and act, you can put people at ease, draw them to you, build trust, or make them be afraid or have a negative impression on you.
Body language is a key part of communication that is important not only in a personal area when talking with your family, spouse, or children.
It is essential in your job too. Business people and managers get huge benefits if they are aware of non-verbal communication. It helps you:
– better communicate your ideas, opinions, and emotions
– better connect with others
– build stronger bonds
– increase trust and clarity
And all these benefits are of huge help when you lead a team and work with many stakeholders.
According to Rona Beck, a weekly contributor to an Assignment service on communication topics, there are many facets of non-verbal communication most people are not aware of.
Nonverbal communication examples
Have you ever wondered how non-verbal communication really helps? Let’s take a look at real-life nonverbal communication examples.
The Marketing Manager at Chanty, Anastasia, is always given recognition for her presentation skills. We asked our co-workers and executives why they praise her presentations. The answer we got was because of her exceptional nonverbal communication skills. Her body language conveyed clarity and trust, and she has a propensity of making eye contact.
In the practical world, the best teachers, actors, lawyers, TV hosts, journalists, or salespeople usually exhibit great nonverbal communication examples.
The most important things in communication are the things that you don’t hear, but rather see. This encapsulates the significance of nonverbal communication.
According to a report by ResearchGate, 80% of communication is nonverbal. We communicate our deepest feelings of hope, joy, rage, despair, and anxiety without using words.
Nonverbal communication is becoming increasingly important and people around the world are even taking workshops to improve their nonverbal cues.
Types of nonverbal communication
There are numerous different types of nonverbal communication. In this article, we are going to focus on ten main types that we believe are important. Let’s take a look at them below.
One important thing that many people are not aware of is that facial expressions are universal. If you have watched the series Lie to me, you already know that there are seven basic emotions.
These are sadness, anger, disgust, fear, surprise, contempt, and happiness. Even though our cultures can shape our worldviews and behaviors, facial expressions are universal throughout the world.
There are over 50 studies that have shown that these facial expressions are spontaneous and cannot be consciously controlled. Further research discovered micro-expressions, which are different from the macro or facial expressions. When we are happy, fearful, or sad. In the presence of our closest ones, we do not have any reason to take them back or hide them.
However, when we go through different events, we might be tempted to do this. For example, in the case of a public speaking situation, when fear, shame, anxiety, and other negative emotions creep through your body. You will be tempted to hide them because of what people may think about you.
No matter how much we think that we can hide our feelings, they come to surface in the way of micro expressions. They are difficult to identify and you need training and exercise because they are quick and fleeting.
There are many types of gestures. We all know that some of them are deliberate, such as waving or pointing, while others are not.
For example, there are adapting gestures such as touching some body parts, rings, clicking pens, and so on. They are often displayed when someone is in distress. During a presentation, you can notice that some speakers will adopt this kind of gesture.
There are also illustrator gestures, maybe one of the most natural ones. They are used subconsciously and illustrate the verbal message.
Posture and movement
Posture and movement are key factors of body language. Most people will adopt comforting behaviors or actions during stressful moments.
Posture and movement can tell you how someone is feeling. For example, an arm-crossed posture sends the message that you are not open to new ideas or solutions.
Or, the leg-crossed posture is known as a posture of defiance and defensiveness. Posture and movement send information about attitude.
Nonverbal communication is a broad domain that includes all the subtleties of our bodies. Paralinguistics are represented by your tone of voice, pitch, loudness, and inflection.
Think about how the meaning of a sentence can be changed just only by how you pronounce and articulate different words. Misunderstandings can arise from small things, like not hearing a word correctly.
For example, the words affect and effect have different meanings, but sound very similar. Fortunately, in most cases, we can use context and body language to discern between the two.
You can identify how the other is feeling just by carefully listening to what and how he presents his ideas. A cold tone of voice is related to negative emotions, while a warm one to more positive ones.
Eyes are the window to the soul. And they never lie. We all know this. Eye contact is used in a conversation by everyone because it helps you gather information. It also helps you get feedback from the environment and notice the body language of your interlocutor.
However, eye contact helps us establish a connection with others. I have learned during my practice as a psychology student that when people gaze, I must not interrupt them. Gazing means that someone is deep thinking. Eye contact means that someone is ready to communicate and to listen to you.
Eyes can also be used to send different signals as well. Depending on the culture and society you live in, prolonged eye contact can send a signal of intimidation. Or, in another context, flirting.
Nevertheless, eyes can help someone establish a rapport or connection. And this is so important in the life of a businessman or manager.
Nonverbal communication is also thought to be facilitated by the colors we wear, the clothes we dress up in, the haircuts we have, and other physical characteristics.
Different colors can provoke various emotions, according to research on color psychology. Physiological responses, assessments, and conclusions can all be influenced by appearance.
Just consider all the rapid and subconscious judgments you make about people based solely on their appearance. Because first impressions matter, experts advise job seekers to dress professionally for interviews with potential employers as well.
Culture has a big impact on how people evaluate appearances. While being thin is often admired in Western culture, certain African societies associate fuller figures with better social standing, wealth, and health.
Other means of nonverbal communication include objects and imagery. You might choose an avatar in an online forum, for instance, to represent your identity there and to share information about who you are and what you like.
People frequently invest a lot of effort creating an image for themselves and surrounding themselves with items that serve as symbols of the things that are significant to them.
For instance, uniforms can be used to send a great deal of personal information. A security guard will wear a uniform, a doctor will wear a white lab coat, and a student may wear a specific uniform to represent a certain school.
These costumes make it clear to onlookers what a person does for a living or where they belong.
Have you ever experienced awkwardness during a conversation because the other person was intruding on your personal space? Although our needs for physical space vary depending on culture, circumstance, and the depth of the relationship, we are all there.
Physical space can be used to convey a variety of nonverbal cues, such as expressions of closeness and sympathy, dominance, or hostility. The typical conversational distance for Americans is between an arm’s length and four feet.
In American society, having less room can lead to either increased intimacy or hostile conduct. A person who has had their personal space invaded by another may feel intimidated as a result and may respond defensively.
Visual communication is any form of communication that uses visual aids. For instance, we use a red sign to signify “danger,” a skull between two pieces of bone arranged crosswise to symbolize “dangerous,” and an image of a lit cigarette with a cross on it to imply “no smoking.”
The psychological and physical aspects of the communication setting also fall under the environment. The setting is a crucial component of the dynamic communication process, more so than the desks and chairs in an office. One’s perspective of their surroundings affects how they respond to them.
For instance, Google is renowned for its work environment, which includes areas designed for physical activity and even 24-hour in-house food service. Although the cost is unquestionably high, Google’s actions speak for themselves. The outcomes achieved in the setting intended to promote contact, collaboration, and innovation are worthwhile.
Final words on nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication is also known as body language. It is something that is present in every moment of our lives and can offer valuable information about others.
The way you sit, talk, gesticulate, or walk can send subtle but powerful messages. Macro and micro expressions are universal.
Body language is important for everyone. It helps you adjust your behavior to some people. It helps you form stronger connections. It makes the process of supporting and helping others easier.
We communicate meaning and information to others through nonverbal cues, and we also perceive the activities of people around us by nonverbal cues.
When examining such nonverbal behaviors, it’s crucial to take the activities in groups into account. You can learn a lot about someone’s true intentions by observing their facial expressions, physical appearance, and tone of voice in addition to what they really say.
What’s your opinion on this topic? Do you think body language is important? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss it.
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Hi Nakatech, thanks so much for your feedback 🙂
Can you share more?
This is an excellent article. Yes, I think body language is very important; it is important for various reasons, one of which is because sometimes a person with whom you may be communicating may not fully understand his or her own perspective; he or she may have some unconscious motivations; another reason is that someone may be deceitful; if their body language is inconsistent with their words, it is a signal well worth attending.
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