What are the different types of non-verbal communication? How can non-verbal communication make or break a speech?
Published on Thursday 7th April 2016
Figure One: Non-verbal communication, Source: Google Images
Phutela (2015, page 43) defines non-verbal communication as ‘a silent form of communicating with a person or a group of people without using any form of speech to grab the audience’s attention’.
There are several forms of non-verbal communication that is utilised by most team members in today’s workplace. Non-verbal communication ranges from body language, eye contact, body gestures, facial expressions, and formal presentation (Types of Nonverbal Communication, 2015).
Figure Two: Non-verbal communication, Source: Google Images
Nicholson & Crushing (2013) suggests that non-verbal communication is an influential component in the workplace which can signify an individual’s engagement or disengagement with the audience. It can be argued that this could affect the development of effective workplace relationships (Nicholson & Crushing, 2013).
When communicating with each other, the individual needs to be mindful, considerate, and vigilant when using non-verbal communication methodologies as a means of communicating with each other, and in particular in the workplace (Cenere et al., 2015, p. 353-354). Non-verbal communication in the workplace can be potentially misunderstood or confusing for the target audience, especially those who are from different cultural groups and backgrounds (Nicholson & Crushing 2013).
It can be argued that the non-verbal aspect of an individual’s communication is more effective than the spoken word, meaning that one’s non-verbal communication can subsequently have a negative impact on the message that an individual is trying to communicate to their audience (Non-verbal communication, 2016).
According to Albardiaz (2011), a key aspect to successful communication is to develop effective non-verbal communication skills. An individual’s body language can be a powerful source that could potentially assist an individual to better connect with others, to better express what one really means, and to build better relationships with one another (Sanders, 2015).
The benefit of non-verbal communication is that it can;
- Reemphasis the message that the words are communicating (Phutela, 2015)
- Be a replacement for the meaning behind the verbal message, and (Phutela, 2015)
- Can add additional meaning behind the message (Phutela, 2015)
Below is an excellent example of how poorly executed non-verbal communication can be misinterpreted, therefore affecting the relationship between the communicators involved.
Albardiaz, R 2011, ‘Teaching non-verbal communication skills’, Education for Primary Care, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 423-424.
Negative Non-verbal Communication (2013) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7lGqmZprx0
Nicholson, S, & Cushing, A 2013, ‘The importance of non-verbal behaviour: issues for selection, training and assessment’, Medical Education, vol. 47, no. 9, pp. 858-860 3p. [23 March 2016].
Non-verbal communication. (2016, March). Retrieved from Help Guide: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/nonverbal-communication.htm
P. Cenere, R. Gill, C. Lawson, M. Lewis, (2015), Communication Skills for Business Professionals. Australia: Cambridge University Press.
Phutela, D 2015, ‘The Importance of Non-Verbal Communication’, IUP Journal of Soft Skills, vol. 9, no. 4, p. 43.
Sanders, A. (2015, May 25). How does non-verbal communication affect relationships. Retrieved from Livestrong: http://www.livestrong.com/article/123418-nonverbal-communication-affect-relationships/
Types of Nonverbal Communication. (2015). Retrieved from Nonverbal Communication for Educators: http://www.creducation.org/resources/nonverbal_communication/types_of_nonverbal_communication.html
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