What is Non-Verbal Communication: Characteristics,Advantages

Meaning and Definition of Non-Verbal Communication

A communication that takes place without using any words or a language can be termed as non-verbal communication. It is also known as by some other names such as indirect method of communication, Most of the communication that takes place among human beings is non-verbal communication. It may seems to be strange but according to the survey, about 70% of human communication takes place through the non-verbal methods.

According to Vaughan and Hogg___” Non-Verbal communication is the transfer of meaningful information from one person to another by means other than written or spoken.

According to Cabbab___” Non-verbal communication is our primary mode to communicate feeling and emotions which we usually do not express verbally”.

Methods of Non-Verbal Communication

1. Signs and Symbols: Communication is a process where messages and meanings are exchanged through sign/symbols that are mutually understood by the sender and the receiver. The different signs are used as follows:

  1. Eat, Hungry,Food and Restaurant: Patting the stomach, showing motion to open mouth.
  2. Do not Know: Shrugging shoulders,raising hands and eyebrows.
  3. Money, Expensive, How Much: Rubbing thumb and fingers together.
  4. Time: Tapping of wrist.

2. Body Language: Kinesics or body language can be defined as an analysis of the body movement. It is a method of conveying the message without using verbal communication. This is done by using movements of different parts of the body. Almost all types of human emotions such as happiness,shocks,surprise,fear,sadness etc.. can be conveyed through body language. These are expressed through special movements of body and its limbs as well as through facial expressions. It refers to non verbal signs that we use in conveying a message. It presents the mental and physical capability of an individual during a non-verbal communication.

3. Paralanguage: Paralanguage can be defined as the meaning that is derived from how a message is said whereas oral communication deals with the content of the message. This feature explains the difference as well as the association between paralanguage and oral communication. One cannot use paralanguage without using oral language. This relation between the two is similar to the one which exists between computer software and hardware. This is a method which tells us how something is said rather than what is the literal meaning, i.e., it stress the manner of saying something. It involves the study of pitch,amplitude,rate,and voice quality of speech.

4. Proxemics/Space Language

Proxemics refers to the study of understanding the way people utilize the physical space around them and what this utilisation reflects about them. Personal space feature can be defined as an invisible boundary that people create between them and other people.

5. Silence: Silence is a state where no verbal communication takes place and no words are being spoken. Communication can take place in a state of silence. Silence can be perceived as positive or negative as per the situation. Sometimes silence maybe interpreted as a consent to a request,whereas,sometimes it may readas a negative response.

Reasons of Silence

  • Contemplation.
  • Fear.
  • Shyness.
  • Concentration.
  • Boredom.
  • Anger.
  • Respect.

Characteristics of Non-verbal Communication

  • It primarily communicates emotions and attitudes.
  • It substitutes, contradicts, emphasizes, or regulates verbal messages.
  • Non-verbal cues are often ambiguous.
  • It is strongly related to verbal communication.
  • It cues are continuous.
  • It cue Culture bound.

Advantages of Non-Verbal Communication

  • Conveying Ideas.
  • Effective in Traffic Control.
  • Conveying Information through symbols.
  • Communication with physically disabled persons.
  • Easy Expression of Feeling.

Disadvantages of Non-Verbal Communication

  • It signs are unclear.
  • It signs are continuous.
  • First Impression do Count.