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Nonverbal Communication. We speak only with our mouths, but we communicate with our whole bodies. 80\% of Communication is Nonverbal. Gestures Body Position Facial Expressions Tone of Voice. Nonverbal Communication

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nonverbal communication

Nonverbal Communication

We speak only with our mouths, but we communicate with our whole bodies.

80 of communication is nonverbal
80% of Communication is Nonverbal
  • Gestures
  • Body Position
  • Facial Expressions
  • Tone of Voice
Nonverbal Communication

Communication without words; a process by which an individual stimulates meaning in the mind of

another person through intentional and unintentional messages through use of the body and voice


Nonverbal message conveys the same idea as the verbal; can take either verbal or nonverbal message away and it still gives the same message

Examples: saying “Hello” while waving or saying “Be quiet” while holding indexfinger up to your mouth


nonverbal message replaces verbal message; (also called emblems)

Examples: waving to say hello, thumbs up for “good job,” clapping at a concert, hitchhiker thumb

"I'm fine."


Nonverbal goes against verbal; they do not match up; ALSO called a mixed message

Examples: saying “I’m fine” when your head is hanging down with slumped shoulders, etc.

Note: Which is more believable when verbal and nonverbal behaviors are contradictory? Why?


Nonverbal supports verbal; used to show how to do something, show sizes, or emphasize emotional feelings; we complement the verbal message with the nonverbal message when demonstrating something or giving directions & pointing (also called illustrators)

Examples: “The fish was this big” while holding hands out to indicate size or “I’m so frustrated!” while shaking fists

AccentUse of gestures & facial expressions to emphasize or punctuate spoken words (also called illustrators)Examples: yelling “That’s it!” while pounding fist, emphasizing words through tone of voice, saying “My first point…” while holding up one finger

Nonverbal cues that control or regulate the interaction of flow of communication between ourselves and another person (Called regulators)

Examples: nodding head and saying “uh huh,” giving eye contact, opening mouth to speak, leaning forward, raising eyebrows, or raising index finger


Communication through voice (vocal cues other than words = paralanguage) such as…

  • Tone of voice-vocal quality, raspy or nasally creates interference with message
  • Pitch-highness or lowness of voice
  • Volume-loudness or softness of voice
  • Rate-how rapidly or slowly one talks
  • Accent/ dialect-pronunciation

The study of human movement and gesture, including facial expression & eye contact

Affect displaysNonverbal behaviors used to communicate emotions Examples: hugging someone to express love or shaking fist at someone to show anger

Nonverbal behaviors that help us to satisfy a personal need and adapt to the immediate situation; not really intending to communicate meaning

Examples: scratching mosquito bite, adjusting glasses, combing hair, pulling hanging thread of clothing, etc.


Communication through the use of space

Territoriality- fixed area that is occupied, controlled and defended by a person or group as their exclusive domain; regulates social interaction; can be source of conflict; indicates ownership (permanent or temporary)

why is it important to understand body language
Why is it important to understand body language?
  • See how people react to us and our ideas
  • You can control nervous habits and negative signals.
  • People respond and remember more of what they see than hear.
facial expressions
Facial Expressions
  • Six emotions are the foundation
    • Surprise
    • Fear
    • Anger
    • Disgust
    • Happiness
    • Sadness
facial expressions1
Facial Expressions
  • Different Facial Areas for different emotions
    • Disgust - nose, cheek, mouth
    • Sadness - brows and forehead
    • Happiness - cheeks and mouth
    • Fear - eyes and eyelids
tone of voice
Tone of Voice
  • The pitch and timbre (distinctive tone) show the true feelings
  • “Oh” can mean…
    • "You surprised me."
    • "I made a mistake."
    • "You're a pain in the neck!"
    • "You made me so happy!"
    • "I'm bored."
    • "I'm fascinated."
    • "I don't understand."
how to tell lying
How to Tell Lying
  • Decreased hand activity
    • Concerned subconsciously, hands will give you away
    • Hide them, sit on them, clasp them together
  • Increased Facial touching
    • Earlobe pull
    • Hand on brow
    • Mouth cover
    • Lip Press
    • Hair Groom
  • Stiff and rigid posture
  • Increased body shifting
multicultural messages
Multicultural Messages

Frame of reference is important in understanding symbols.

  • What means “Hook ‘em Horns” in Texas, means…
    • Italy - insult
    • Brazil - good luck
    • Hindus - cow
  • In business, body language wins out over verbal communication.
greetings are different around the world
Greetings are different around the world
  • Latinos hug
  • Japanese bow
  • The French kiss both cheeks
  • English & Americans shake hands
  • Romans clasped forearms
  • Arab citizens say “Salaam”
  • Eskimos slap hands on heads or shoulders
  • Maoris rub noses
  • Polynesians embrace each other and rub backs
how countries feel about distance
How Countries Feel About Distance
  • Don't Like Touching
    • Japan
    • U.S. and Canada
    • England
    • Australia
  • Enjoy Touching
    • Middle East
    • Latin America
    • Italy
    • Greece
    • Russia
  • Middle Ground
    • France
    • China
    • Ireland
    • India
women vs men
Women vs. Men
  • Women respond to touch differently than men
types of space
Types of Space
  • Personal
    • 1-1/2 to 4 feet
  • Intimate
    • Under 18 inches

Confidential Exchanges

Conversations withfriends & colleagues

  • Public
    • Over 12 feet
  • Social
    • 4 to 12 feet

Social & BusinessExchanges

Public Spaces likeShopping Malls

nonverbal communication in the workplace
"We talk with our vocal chords, but we communicate with our facial expressions, our tone of voice, our whole body,”

Psychologist Paul Ekman

Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace
steps to a professional personality
Steps to a Professional Personality
  • To be successful, you have to look successful.
    • Have confident posture- shoulders erect (it shows interest)
    • Don't smile constantly
    • Cocking your head suggests hesitation
    • Touching your face makes you look nervous
    • Be the first to interact
    • Keep body position open
    • Be in command when seated
      • Forearms on the table
      • Don't slouch or jiggle your foot
    • Work on your handshake
    • Maintain good eye contact
what is positive body language
What is Positive Body Language?
  • Relaxed posture
  • Relaxed arms
  • Good eye contact
  • Nodding agreement
  • Smiling at humor
  • Leaning closer
  • Using gestures
what is negative body language
What is Negative Body Language?
  • Body tension
  • Arms folded
  • Speaking hand to mouth
  • Fidgeting
  • Yawning
interpreting nonverbal messages
Interpreting Nonverbal Messages
  • Don't just look - see
  • Consider person's normal physical behavior
  • Look for clusters of signals, not just one
Nonverbal message

Body language

Tone of voice


Personal space

Intimate distance

Personal distance

Social distance

Eye contact