Types and examples of nonverbal communication

Types and examples of nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication or NVC is the communication or transmission and interpretation of meanings or information between people without using words or language. Some of the roles of NVC include the reinforcement of verbal communication, especially oral communication, as well as the transmission and interpretation of first impressions and sociocultural norms and standards. This article briefly lists down and explains the different types of nonverbal communication.

The eight major types and examples of nonverbal communication

1. Kinesics: Body motion communication or body language related to the movement of any part of the body used to supplement verbal communication or convey something without using any words. Examples include gestures, facial expressions, posture or stance, eye contact, and other body movements, among others.

2. Paralanguage: Vocalics or paralanguage is a component of meta-communication that consciously or unconsciously modifies or reinforces the meanings behind oral communication. Examples include vocal characterizers such as laughter, vocal qualifiers such as pitch and tone, and vocal segregates such as gasps and sighs.

3. Proxemics: Some nonverbal communication includes the use of personal space, zones, or distance to convey meaning. Proxemics has specific subcategories. Interpersonal distance includes intimate space, personal space, social space, and public space. Territorial organization of space that includes public territory, home territory, interactional territory, and body territory.

4. Haptics: Another type of nonverbal communication is haptics or the use of the sense of touch to communicate. Essentially, this involves the transmission or interpretation of meanings or information, or interactions via the sense of touch. Casual examples include handshakes high fives, and a pat on the shoulder. Intimate examples include embracing and kissing. Note that haptics can be sexual or platonic.

5. Olfactics: Some communication depends on the sense of smell. Note that olfactics is the study of smell or the different types of smell and their respective perception. The use of perfumes indicates an attempt to establish a favorable first impression. On the other hand, bad odors are perceived negatively, thus resulting in interaction avoidance. Some cultures have pronounced used for scents, especially in reinforcing customs and traditions.

6. Chronemics: This is a type of nonverbal communication involved with the function of time in human interactions. Accordingly, the manner in which a person perceives and values time, structures time, and reacts to time frames and contextualizes communication. Examples of time perception include punctuality and willingness to wait. Time structures include the assertion of control over a timeframe to convey status and dominance or a design of timeframe to promote and moderate equal communication among participants.

7. Silence: Sometimes, the absence of either verbal or nonverbal communication also indicates an attempt to convey meaning. For example, in familial or romantic relationships, silence suggests distress and conflict between participants. Some use silence to convey respect toward an authority or express dismay.

8. Clothing and Physical Appearance: The way a person dresses or the way he or she presents himself through grooming, sporting a hairstyle, and wearing makeup, among other also signifies an attempt to communicate nonverbally, especially in promoting self-expression. In a collective setting, clothing and physical appearance convey beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and nationalities.