Nonverbal communication is a process of generating meaning using behavior rather than words. (Note, they can also be culturally dependent.) There are many aspects of nonverbal communication.
In communication, we derive only 7% of the message through the words that are said. Most of the message comes from the nonverbals (55% from body language and 38% from vocalics). Think about when someone’s words fail to match up with their nonverbal signals, you tend to ignore what has been said and focus instead on unspoken expressions of moods, thoughts, and emotions.
Pay attention to the way people are taking in your words. If they are not received the way you hoped, it might be your nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is a skill you can improve. You can build this skill by paying careful attention to your nonverbal behavior and practicing different types of nonverbal communication with others.
Here we share some of the main ways we communicate non-verbally.
Kinesics: Movement of our hands, arms, face, and body.
Gestures and signals (“V” for victory, thumbs up/down, head nod for yes/no, looking at watch, finger for ‘1 minute’). Posture. Stance. Affect displays (showing of feelings – red face, blush, biting nails).
Oculesics: Use of the eyes.
Eye contact. Eye movement. Speaking with your eyes (smile, squint, cover eyes, lowering eyelids). Where you are looking (at watch, over someone’s head).
Hug, pat, stroking hair, holding hands.
Proxemics: Use of physical distance/ space.
How far apart/close together.
Vocalics: How the voice is used.
Rate, pitch, tone, volume, intensity, pausing, and even silence. The change between those all.
Chronemics: Use of time.
Timing. Punctuality. Willingness to be flexible with time. How much time is spent. Scheduling vs spontaneity.
Personal presentation: They way you look – grooming, dress, accessories.
What you surround yourself with (home, workspace).