When it comes to communication, what comes to our minds may be limited to verbal communication, namely by talking with one another. In fact, there is another form of communication that we often do unwittingly, namely nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is the process of exchanging information using behavior. You must have given someone some kind of code to get away from somewhere using just a nod or a look in the eye. That is an example of non verbal communication.
Nonverbal communication itself can be divided into several types. The following is a further explanation for you.
Types of nonverbal communication
Sad facial expressions can be used as nonverbal communication
Apparently, nonverbal communication can be grouped into so many types, such as:
1. Facial expression
Facial expressions are the most commonly used type of nonverbal communication. In fact, it is not uncommon for us to already know the information that the other person will convey, even before he speaks, just by looking at his facial expressions.
For example, just one smile or frown expression can provide quite a lot of information from the other person.
2. Eye gaze
Gaze plays a big role in nonverbal communication. From the way of looking, staring, or even blinking can actually be an information delivery.
When you see someone you like, for example, your blinking frequency will increase and your pupil size will increase. Meanwhile, from the way you see someone, you can know feelings like hate or love.
In addition, things like not being able to maintain eye contact can be seen as a sign that someone is lying. So, eye contact can actually tell a lot about a person.
Gesture is one of the types of nonverbal communication to read. Gestures or gestures such as pointing, waving, or demonstrating certain numbers by hand are things we do very often when communicating.
In fact, this can be a helper when verbal communication cannot be done. For example, when we go abroad and don’t understand the language spoken by the interlocutor, then we can convey it with gesture and the information can still be conveyed properly.
From the touch we receive or give to others, various information can be conveyed. Touch shows friendliness, invitation, or even danger.
In everyday life examples of nonverbal communication using touch are shaking hands or patting an arm or shoulder.
Appearance conveys a lot of information about ourselves.
How to dress, hair style choices, to the colors we wear, also enter as one form of nonverbal communication. Because it turns out, appearance can determine the reaction, interpretation, to our assessment of others. Vice versa.
You must have secretly judge others by their appearance. That is the reason, first impression is important. Because at that first meeting, people who have just met us will gather information about ourselves from what they see.
Even so, the information conveyed from each type of appearance will also be different, depending on the social and cultural conditions adopted.
Paralinguistic is a nonverbal aspect of the speech process. Examples are the tone of speech, the speed, to the volume of our voices. It is this nonverbal aspect that helps provide context for the spoken words.
This aspect is usually called paralanguage. Tone, speed, to the volume of speech included. This non-verbal aspect provides context for the spoken words.
For example, high volume is usually used to convey emotional things. Then, a small volume combined with sad facial expressions will be used to convey the sad news.
This type of nonverbal communication refers to distance and place when interacting. The distance and place of interaction are divided into 4 zones, namely the public, social, personal, and intimate zones. The farther or nearer the distance between us and the other person, the interaction will take place will be different.
In a public zone that allows communication to be done at a distance of about 4 meters, the interaction that occurs is usually formal and not personal. Meanwhile, interactions at a distance of less than 1 meter in the intimate zone are usually only done with family, closest friends or couples.
Time can influence the occurrence of communication and this is included in nonverbal communication types of chronemics.
For example, communication carried out in the morning requires more attention, so that information can be conveyed properly. Because generally, we are not fully ready to face the day.
Conversely, when we interact or communicate, mood and interest can affect our awareness of the time the communication takes place.
For example, when we are in a boring forum, time will feel slower. Meanwhile, if the activities carried out are fun, the time will pass faster.
An object or object, and an image can also be used as a tool to communicate nonverbally. That object or picture is called an artifact.
Examples of this form of communication are when you post a profile photo or upload certain pictures on social media. The photo has provided information to the viewer about who you are and the things you like, for example.
Another example is uniform. When someone wears a police uniform, army or doctor’s coat, we can easily find out the person’s work. Submission of this information, has also entered as a form of nonverbal communication.
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The important role of nonverbal communication
Gestur, eye gaze, until the movement that will help the person who is communicating with you to assess your concern for it. Or, to make sure you really listen and say the truth.
When nonverbal communication is carried out in harmony with your words, there will be trust and clarity in the whole communication process. Conversely, if verbal and nonverbal communication are out of sync, then suspicion, tension, or confusion between the two people who are communicating will increase.
For those of you who want to be excellent communicators, learning nonverbal communication is absolutely legal. Not only learning what other people do, but also yourself.
Nonverbal communication is also an important aspect of daily life. For example, in caring for and educating children, nonverbal aspects such as touch and hug are very important as a way to convey affection between parents and children.
Another example that requires nonverbal aspects is when choosing a partner or responding to a hazard. Therefore, by knowing the type of non-verbal communication, we are expected to convey and understand information better.
Non-verbal communication helps people to
- Strengthen or modify what is said with words
For example, people might nod their heads eagerly when saying “Yes” to emphasize that they agree with others, but shrugging shoulders and sad expressions when saying “I’m fine thank you,” can imply that things are not good
- To convey information about their emotional state.
- Affirming or strengthening relationships between people.
- Give feedback to others
- Regulate communication flow
For example by giving signals to others that they have finished talking or want to say something.
Learn a language
Many popular books on non-verbal communication present topics as if they are language that can be learned, the implication is that if the meaning of every nod, eye movements, and gestures are known, one’s real feelings and intentions will be understood.
Unfortunately interpreting non-verbal communication is not that simple. As discussed on our Interpersonal Communication page , non-verbal communication is not a language with fixed meaning. It is influenced and driven by the context in which it occurs. This includes the place and the people concerned, as well as culture.
For example, a nod of head among colleagues in a committee meeting can mean something very different from when the same action is used to acknowledge someone in a crowded room, and again when two people are having a social conversation.
Interpersonal communication is more complicated because it is usually not possible to interpret signals or expressions on their own. Non-verbal communication consists of a complete package of expressions, hand and eye movements, posture, and movements that must be interpreted together with speech (verbal communication).
The good news is that most of us learn to interpret non-verbal communication as we grow and develop. This is a normal part of the way we communicate with others, and most of us use it and interpret it unconsciously.
This can make it more difficult to consciously interpret. However, if you stop thinking about it, you might find that you have a very good idea of what someone meant.
The bad news is that non-verbal communication can be very specific to culture.
Examples of culture-specific non-verbal communication
Thumbs up, which generally signify agreement in English-speaking countries, are considered offensive in other countries, including Greece, Italy and parts of the Middle East.
Making a circle with your thumb and forefinger like this means OK in Western culture. This is used especially by divers. In Japan, it is said to be a sign for money, and in Arab countries, it is a threat.
It’s best to be careful how you use gestures and body language!