Nonverbal Communication

Types, Importance And Functions of Nonverbal Communication

What is Nonverbal Communication?

The definition of non-verbal communication implies communication between people without words, through sending and receiving cues. These involve physical movements, signals, symbols, colors etc. used to express information, emotions or attitudes.

If you are questioning "what is nonverbal communication?" and are interested whether it is effective, then you will be surprised when you get to know that it is able to communicate human feelings even more precisely than verbal methods of communication. This explains a great importance of nonverbal communication in our life.

Types of Nonverbal Communication

Both verbal and nonverbal communication may include various types. Nonverbal communication includes body language, touch, eye contact, posture, symbol, distance, proximity, silence, humor etc.

The difference between verbal and nonverbal communication is great, and here are some examples why nonverbal communication is important. It has numerous functions, such as the following:

  • Repeats verbal messages.
  • Accents verbal messages.
  • Complements verbal messages.
  • Regulates interactions.
  • Substitutes for verbal messages (such forms of nonverbal communication as facial expressions or gestures).

You have probably heard the proverb: "Actions speak louder than words." Well, this concerns the body language and other forms of non-verbal communication, which have especially great importance in intercultural situations.

How Can We Communicate without Words?

According to the research on nonverbal communication, the sender can convey nonverbal information to the receiver in different ways. Here they are.

Eye Contact

We often ascribe reliability to the person who speaks while maintaining a continuous eye contact. People use eye contact to convey emotions and interest, and to create a connection with the receiver of the message. We also sometimes use it to feign interest.


Gestures are used in most nonverbal communication activities. The most often used ones are hand gestures. They can add meaning to a spoken word.

Also, such unconscious gestures as stroking your hair, scratching your nose, or placing hands on hips etc. can be used in psychological analysis.


It implies the way you carry yourself including stance, bearing, uprightness, and rigidity. Whether a person leans back comfortably, sits rigidly on the edge of the seat, he or she conveys a certain message via his or her posture and positioning.


Nonverbal communication in different cultures also includes signs and other articles with pictures and symbols.

Facial expression

Our faces are very expressive, including our eyes and eyebrows, mouth and every facial muscle. We can easily express such emotions as happiness, anger, disgust, joy etc. with facial movements.

Body language

This includes the way we sit, stand, move our arms, hands and feet, and other movements of the body.

Clothing and other appurtenances

Our clothing also has certain functions of nonverbal communication and sends powerful messages, some of which are intentional. For this reason, it is very important to remember about nonverbal communication in the workplace, when you are choosing your word wardrobe.

Situations when Nonverbal Communication Is Important

It is necessary to keep in mind that nonverbal communication can help you, as well as haunt you. You should understand it has a great power to influence the outcomes of your communication. It always has an effect on the interaction, whether you are having a chat with your colleague, talking to your boss or speaking to the entire company. Due to various characteristics, which people notice via nonverbal communication, they make conclusions about the kind of person you are. It is an essential tool in your everyday meetings and it is significant in every situation when you are communicating to someone. Make sure your nonverbal communication matches your spoken words. This way, you will make people trust you.

13 April, 2018 in Student Portal