What Is Nonverbal Communication: Know About Its Types and Importance
Every time we are delivering a verbal message, we are also imparting some kind of nonverbal information also with it. A nonverbal component plays a very important role in any kind of communication whether official or unofficial. And no discussion is complete without considering the nonverbal components of communication. Nonverbal communication constitutes the body movements of an individual, the posture of an individual, the pressure and emphasis one gives while speaking a certain kind of word, the facial expression of an individual during receiving or sending information, eye contact, touch, and the last but not the least is the physical distance which is present between the sender and the receiver.
Importance of nonverbal communication
Nonverbal components form a very important aspect in the process of communication and are very useful in conveying correctly and effectively the information from the sender to the receiver and also help in getting effective feedback from the receiver to the sender. The majority of the feelings and intentions are delivered in the form of nonverbal communication. There are situations in which not just content of the message plays an important role but the tone the way of delievering that particular message can also play a very important role, for example: a mother can shout agrresively to her son “ to come and help her with some work” on the other hand she can politely say the same thing to the child, in both the cases the same message is being delievered but the tone the way of delievering the message differs and that plays a very important role like in the first case it may happen that the child gets scared or the child gets reluctant to work or it may affect the child’s imageof his mother as someone who is agressive and the child may start percieveing his mother as an agressive person whereas in the second case the child may be willingly start to help out his mother and may also percieve his mother as poliete and calm and even in the long run if thing continues like this the mother will become the child’s favourite person, or someone whom he can percieve to when things go wrong or whenhe wants to talk about something, or heneeds any kind of help.
The nonverbal communication one sends also shows the sense of interest of that person suppose there is a clinical psychologist sitting with his client and the client is telling the psychologist about his problem and at the same time instead of maintaining eye contact with his client the psychologist is busy looking over his watch or somewhere else this gesture of the psychologist will create a feeling in the mind of the client that the psychologist is not interested in listening to his problem and he shouldn’t be sharing his problem with him or he should have not visited this psychologist or he will not visit this psychologist in the future, it may happen that the psychologist, in reality, was listening to the words of his client it’s just he was not maintaining proper eye contact and appropriate gestures at that time but the client will have a negative image related to the psychologist. Nonverbal communication also creates a sense of trust, suppose your friend tells you a secret about himself and tells you not to disclose the secret with someone else and at that time you hold your friend's hand and look into his eyes and promise him that you won't, and the second scenario would be you just simply say I won’t tell anyone in both the cases the same verbal message is being conveyed but in the first one your friend will be more assured that his secret will be safe with you. And if the nonverbal cues are in contrast to the verbal message it has been found that people are more likely to believe the nonverbal cues. Last but not least we all know how much the first impression is important in any type of communication and this first impression of a person is formed by the use of nonverbal communication only.
Types of nonverbal communication
1) Body movements
Every body movement holds some meaning and no body movement is unintentional. And we act our state of being with nonverbal body language. For example, we stand to signal authority, we uncross our arms in order to be perceived as someone who is approachable. Body language can act as a very useful tool in conveying status, level of engagement, and emotional state of an individual.
2) Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are one of the easiest interpretable means of nonverbal communication. In nonverbal communication, facial expressions play a major role and also form a major part of the nonverbal cues. In Fact, a single facial expression like a happy face or sad face can convey a lot of information. Unlike other forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are the same for all cultures for example the sad face of a person in India will be similar to the sad person who is residing in America. The facial expression of a person reflects the attitudes and emotions of an individual.
3) Physical Appearance
The physical appearance of a person also plays an important role in conveying a lot of information about that person. In Fact, it plays an important role in portraying the first impression of a person and also conveys a lot about a person’s personality. In each setting, there are appropriate physical appearances that are being demanded by that particular culture and society. For example, when someone dies in Christianity people of the deceased family wear black during the last rituals of that person whereas the same is not true in the case of other religions.
Gestures can be stated as the movement of our hand which is used in order to convey our thoughts and emotions to other people. For example, a thumbs up can be a sign of acceptance whereas a thumbs down can be a sign of disregarding the fact. There are various types of gestures, which includes; emblems, illustrators, affect displays, regulators, adaptors, etc. However, gestures can also detract from what we say but they are as effective as words and also sometimes better than that.
Postures can convey a lot about your current mood and also about your personality. For example head forward and a curved back may show a sad mood or lack of confidence whereas balanced upright posture may depict confidence in that individual. Whereas closed arms may depict a defensive nature whereas open arms may depict a welcoming nature.
6) Eye Contact
As the visual sense is dominant for most people the type of eye contact plays a very important role in communication and is considered one of the most important components of nonverbal communication. Eye contact can convey many things like interest, emotions, affection, hostility, and also someone’s personality. Eye contact is very important in maintaining the flow of the conversation and is also useful in gauging the other person’s response. It also helps in establishing the nature of a relationship. For example, it is considered respectful and shows attentiveness when someone maintains eye contact during a conversation.
It refers to the type of nonverbal communication which considers the way by which an individual communicates using different kinds of touch. Touch is considered one of the effective means of communicating feelings and emotions. The way a touch will be interpreted by the other person is largely dependent upon its culture and societal norms and traditions. A touch may be considered negative by one person whereas it may be considered normal by another person. The way of touch is also dependent on the environment, for example at a friend’s party instead of a formal handshake two friends might do a high five with each other whereas in a formal setting like an office meeting two people would consider greeting each other with a handshake.
It refers to the study of how space and distance affect the communication system. Space can make a person feel more or less comfortable, it involves how we as an individual communicate with the space around us and how we are arranging one’s personal space and what we are arranging in it. It involves the effective use of space in different settings or contexts for effective communication. Space can be further divided into intimate space, social space, and public space. And on the basis of the context, the type of space is determined like with one’s lover it may be an intimate space whereas for colleagues it may be a social space whereas for strangers it may be a public space.
Chronemics involves the study of how time is used in communication. The way an individual perceives his time, use his time, and reacts at a time is very important. For example, if someone is saying something important and we didn’t respond to their talk on time the other person might think that we are paying much attention to their talk or maybe we are not able to understand the things he is trying to convey to us, also punctuality is something which is being demanded by a person in many contexts like an office where being punctual can convey a lot about you and your personality.
Artifacts refer to how we decorate one’s bodies and environment. It can be jewelry, tattoos, or some object kept in the house for interior design. Artifacts reflect the taste of choice, tell about the person’s interest area, tell about the person’s personality, etc. Artifacts are also used for creating impressions. For example, a house full of expensive items may convey the fact that the owner of this house is someone who is very rich and has an interest in living a lavish lifestyle, this shows how much the artifacts can affect the formation of a person's impression.
In conclusion, we can state that nonverbal cues play a very important role in the process of communication and it is the combination of both the right verbal and nonverbal communication means that leads to the effective transmission of a message from the sender to the receiver. And the importance of nonverbal cues in the communication process should not be neglected as this could lead to a wrong perception of the message.