What Is Non-verbal Communication?

What Is Non-verbal Communication?

Non-verbal communication includes all kinds of messages apart from words that a person may use to communicate with another person. When a person speaks, he will not confine himself to merely talking. Non-verbal motions will also be used to convey meaning along with verbal discourse, whether the person intends it or not. For example, moving of the head and making motions with the hand when speaking.

A small child, who has not learnt to speak yet, will first express itself through non-verbal communication. Even before an individual utters a sentence, the listener will observe the speaker’s facial expressions and body gestures, and try to derive sense from these messages. Here is an interesting bit of information. People are more likely to believe non-verbal messages than verbal ones.

In our daily life, it is possible that we may not understand a person’s verbal communication. In this case, you would ask the individual to clarify the message again. But if the message was accompanied by non-verbal communication, we would try to use it to make sense of the verbal communication.

What is Included in Non-verbal Communication?

Non-verbal communication includes body movements, facial expressions, and gestures. Human beings are not the only beings that respond to non-verbal communication. For instance, if you have a dog, it may prefer to follow instructions that you have conveyed through an action than your verbal commands. Some may even get confused when you give a verbal command, but will respond when do make a hand motion.

Non-verbal communication is of two types. One is body language and the other is gestures. Body language consists of body movements, which are dependent on an individual’s feelings or attitude. This can include the way a person walks, stands, or sits. For instance, when a person is feeling sad, his head may droop and his walk may become listless. People do not have to talk to show their emotions. Even the color of a person’s skin may reveal their feelings. For example, when a person with light skin feels embarrassed, his skin will turn red. When they are worried, their skin might turn pale. Body language can either be voluntary or involuntary.

Gestures are another type of non-verbal communication. These can include facial expressions, eye gazing, hand signals, and posture. Here is an example. You see a friend at a carnival but he is still far. So you wave your hand and smile. You may even point out a certain place where you would like to meet. By waving your hand and smiling, you have conveyed that you are happy to see your friend and you did this without speaking a word. Here is another well known example. In baseball, the catcher makes certain signals and the pitcher understands how he has to throw the ball.

Uses of Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication has three uses- greeting, specific communication, and involuntary communication. Greetings can include handshakes, waves, salutes, and hugs. People often use specific communication at work. For example, workers signalling to each other at work.

Sign language also constitutes specific communication. This type of communication is used by those who cannot hear properly or not at all. They make signals with their hand and read lips to communicate.

The next kind is involuntary communication. This consists of attitudes and movements that reveal people’s feelings. Most people do these actions involuntarily. Examples of this kind of non-verbal communication are rubbing your hands together in anticipation, drumming or tapping your fingers, or shaking your legs when you are impatient, biting your nails when you are nervous, and more.

Understanding non-verbal communication is very important if you want to succeed in your relationships and in your professional life. If you want to make the most of non-verbal communication, we encourage you to enrol into one of Let’s Live Coaching’s communication courses.

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