Topic 3 Non-verbal communication

Nonverbal communication is the transfer of information through the use of body language including eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and more. For example, smiling when you meet someone conveys friendliness, acceptance and openness. Everyone uses nonverbal communication all the time whether they know it or not.

Nonverbal communication plays a significant role in our lives, as it can improve a person’s ability to relate, engage, and establish meaningful interactions in everyday life. A better understanding of this type of communication may lead people to develop stronger relationships with others.

Posture, vocal tone and eye contact can deliver subtle messages that reinforce what has being said to convey consistency and trustworthiness.

Nonverbal communication is the act of conveying a thought, feeling, or idea through physical gestures, posture, and facial expressions.


Forms of nonverbal communication are many and varied and can provide extensive insight into a person’s thoughts and/or feelings. Forms of nonverbal communication can be categorized to better understand their place in everyday interactions:

  • Gestures – for example, the movements of the hands, arms and head. With their help we emphasize  elements of our expression. Thanks to these movements, we express our emotional state.
  • Facial expressions – on the one hand we express emotions, but on the other hand it is an element of emphasizing verbal content
  • Touch – for example handshakes, hugs, etc. which helps in building relationships.
  • Eye contact – eyes are here the main relay of information, through their movements we build the impression of closeness
  • Tone of voice is the range of pitch in the voice that may communicate something other than the words being spoken. For example, sarcasm may give an individual’s words an entirely different meaning.
  • Distance between interlocutors – we distinguish intimate, personal, social and open space. This differ in various cultures.
  • Position of the body – this is the way a person sits and stands.
  • Body movements may include any motion of the body.
  • Non-verbal features of speech – for example the intonation of the voice or the rhythm of speaking. They emphasize our intentions in relation to the interlocutor and thanks to them it can effectively influence others
  • Para-language sounds – add variety to the communication process. They are signs of expression of feelings (laughter, crying, sighs)
  • Elements of the physical environment – this is related to the place in which the interlocutors are located.
  • Physical appearance and clothes – it expresses the relationship we have to the interlocutor