Types of non-verbal communication.

1.     Clothing (physical appearance)

–          we combine items of clothing and the appropriateness of certain types of styles of dress to specific situation.

–          Funeral – people wear black or dark coloured clothes as a symbol or mourning ~ avoid colour clashes.

–          The clothes we wear make a statement about ourselves ~ interpretation by other people.

–          Uniform – used to signify the role or function that a person performs; e.g: policemen, army, school children, etc.

–          Also signifiers of the rank and status of the person who wears them.

–          Have impact on the behaviour of both the wearer and those with whom they are in contact.

–          Provide sense of belonging- to show our allegiance to a group (subcultures such as hippies, rappers, punks, etc. or support our football team or army etc.)

–          Example of formal dress – business suit always dark shades?

–          Dress – one aspect of the physical appearance

–          Hairstyle, jewellery, make-up, body adornment and body modification.

2.  Voice (paralanguage)

–          How something is said is what is said.

–          Those utterances that we make when we are speaking

–          When we speak, we make noise that aren’t words (‘um’ or ‘ah’), we raise and lower voices, we pause, we stress some words.

–          Important aspect of the message when we are communicating

–          E.g: “The house is on fire” ~statement

–                   “The house is on fire!” ~ stressed

–          Voice intonation (pitch)- indicator of intention

–          Pitch~ the highness or loweness of the voice.

–          Volume~ the degree of loudness.

–          Silence ~ can communicate powerful messages, awkwardness and discomfirm others.

” How you play your voice “


3.   Space and distance (proxemics and environmental factors).

–          Refers to the space exists between us as we talk and relate each others and how we organize the space around us.

–          Environmental factors : elements of settings that affect how people feel and act. E.g. how people responds to colours, room design, temperature, sounds, smells and lighting.

–          We create for ourselves spaces that belong to us and to which we try carefully to control access.

–          Issue: how space is occupied is about how territory reflects the power relations within groups of people. The more powerful a person the larger and more impressive the space they will occupy


“the amount of space that people find comfortable between themselves and others”





1. Close intimate


lovers, and physical touching relationships

2. Intimate


physical touching relationships

3. Personal


family and close friends

4. Social- consultative


non-touch interaction, social, business

5. Public


no interaction, ignoring

4.      Colours (meaning and associations)        

  Colours communicates meanings, i.e. red (bravery, danger, etc), yellow ( royal colour, etc)

–          It affects us emotionally as well as physiologically – according to researches, red colour causes the increase in blood pressure, respiration rate and heartbeat.

5.    Time (chronemics)

–          How we use (or misuse) time to communicate.

–          People in different cultures structure or organize time differently – i.e. punctuality, allocation of certain activities to appropriate times.

6.    Touch (haptics)

–          Touch can be used to communicate affection, familiarity, sympathy and other emotions.

–          Touch reflect power, status, attitudes, and needs of the communicators.

–          Different cultures value touch differently Asian cultures promote very little touching behavior due to the norms and traditional customs.


Evaluating nonverbal signals

Eye contact

Is eye contact being made? If so, is it overly intense or just right?

Facial expression

What is their face showing? Is it masklike and unexpressive, or emotionally present and filled with interest?

Tone of voice

Does their voice project warmth, confidence, and interest, or is it strained and blocked?

Posture and gesture

Are their bodies relaxed or stiff and immobile? Are shoulders tense and raised, or slightly sloped?


Is there any physical contact? Is it appropriate to the situation? Does it make you feel uncomfortable?

Timing and pace

Is there an easy flow of information back and forth? Do nonverbal responses come too quickly or too slowly?


Do you hear sounds that indicate caring or concern?


Non-verbal messages allow individuals to:

*  Reinforce or modify what is said in words. For example, people may nod their heads vigorously when saying “Yes” to emphasise that they agree with the other person, but a shrug of the shoulders and a sad expression when saying “I’m fine thanks,” may imply that things are not really fine at all!

*  Convey information about their emotional state.

*  Define or reinforce the relationship between people.

*  Provide feedback to the other person.

*  Regulate the flow of communication, for example by signalling to others that they have finished speaking or wish to say something.


*  When we interact with others, we continuously give and receive wordless signals. All of our nonverbal behaviors—the gestures we make, the way we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we stand, how much eye contact we make—send strong messages. These messages don’t stop when you stop speaking either. Even when you’re silent, you’re still communicating nonverbally.

*  You may be familiar with advice on how to sit a certain way, steeple your fingers, or shake hands just so in order to appear confident or assert dominance. But the truth is that such tricks aren’t likely to work (unless you truly feel confident and in charge). That’s because you can’t control all of the signals you’re constantly sending off about what you’re really thinking and feeling. And the harder you try, the more unnatural your signals are likely to come across.

“Body language is the unconscious and conscious transmission and interpretation of feelings, attitudes, and moods, through:

  • body posture, movement, physical state, position and relationship to other bodies, objects and surroundings,
  • facial expression and eye movement,

(and this transmission and interpretation can be quite different to the spoken words).”

~ Alhamdulillah, praise to Allah. I got to finished it. Hope you enjoy read this. I hope it can help us in our communication skill especially in interpersonal skill. Develop it by the guidance above. This is just a little things I can do with the help of Allah. Thank you so much for read it and apply it. I wish I’m doing it and try our best, insyaAllah. Kindly refer to another sources for the best feedbacks. Jazakillahukhairan kathira, barakallahufik..~


“sometimes English make it easier to understand 🙂 ”

Happy learning!


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