Scientific research on nonverbal communication and behavior began with the 1872 publication of Charles Darwin’s
Nonverbal communication refers to gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact (or lack thereof), body language, posture, and other ways people can communicate without using language.
From our handshakes to our hairstyles, nonverbal details reveal who we are and impact how we relate to other people.
Nonverbal Communication Skills Examples
Want to brush up on your skills? Review this list of nonverbal skills and work on any areas where you think you could improve.
1. Avoid slouching. Sit with your back straight up against the chair or lean slightly forward to convey engagement.
2. Steer clear of smiles or laughter when messages are serious.
3. Display some animation with your hands and facial expressions to project a dynamic presence. (But avoid talking with your hands excessively, which can appear unprofessional and unpolished.)
4. Don’t bring your phone, a drink, or anything else that could distract you during an interview or meeting.
5. Eliminate fidgeting and shaking of limbs.
Communicating At Job Interviews
Your nonverbal communications during a job interview can either support the tone of your conversation or leave the interviewer wondering whether you’re all talk and no substance. Displaying nonverbal behaviors that are a match for your messages can help you to convince employers that you are genuinely interested in the job and suited for the work.
Another hiring factor is the subject’s apparent ability to relate effectively with clients, co-workers, and other stakeholders.
For example, subtly mirroring interviewers’ body language can make you appear more trustworthy to them. In the same vein, lack of eye contact is a sign of low confidence and an inability to truly engage with others.
In general, what’s most important is to be positive and engaging. If you feel confident about your ability to do the job and know you’ll be an asset to the employer, you can show that by your actions as well as your words.
What Are Types Of Nonverbal Communication
1. Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication.
Consider how much information can be conveyed with a smile or a frown. The look on a person’s face is often the first thing we see, even before we hear what they have to say.
While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures
Paralinguistic refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection, and pitch.
Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.
A cold tone of voice might suggest that you are actually not fine, but you don’t wish to discuss it.
A bright, happy tone of voice will reveal that you are actually doing quite well. A somber, downcast tone would indicate that you are the opposite of fine and that perhaps your friend should inquire further.
3. Body Language and Posture
Posture and movement can also convey a great deal of information. Research on body language has grown significantly since the 1970s, but popular media have focused on the over-interpretation of defensive postures, arm-crossing, and leg-crossing, especially after publishing Julius Fast’s book Body Language.
While these nonverbal behaviors can indicate feelings and attitudes, research suggests that body language is far more subtle and less definitive than previously believed.
Communicating through touch is another important nonverbal communication behavior. There has been a substantial amount of research on the importance of touch in infancy and early childhood.
Harry Harlow’s classic monkey study demonstrated how deprived touch and contact impedes development. Baby monkeys raised by wire mothers experienced permanent deficits in behavior and social interaction.