According to experts, a substantial portion of our communication is nonverbal. Every day, we respond to thousands on nonverbal cues and behaviors includingpostures, facial expression, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice. From our handshakes to our hairstyles, nonverbal details reveal who we are and impact how we relate to other people.
Scientificresearch on nonverbal communication and behavior began with the 1872 publication of Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Since that time, there has been an abundance ofresearch on the types, effects, and expression of unspoken communication and behavior. While these signals are often so subtle that we are not consciously aware of them, research has identified severaldifferent types of nonverbal communication.
1. Facial Expression
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Consider how much information can be conveyedwith a smile or a frown. While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are similar throughout theworld.
Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate number amounts.Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.
Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone ofvoice, 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 andenthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.
4. Body Language and Posture
Posture and movement can also convey a great deal on...