Nonverbal Communication - A Key to Healthy Conversation


Imagine someone talking to you without any expressions or gestures like a robot. How would you feel? No matter how fancy the vocabulary is, we feel like ending the conversation soon, isn’t it? Nonverbal Communication plays a major role than verbal communication to convey the message more effectively.

Nonverbal Communication is the process of conveying messages through nonverbal platforms like eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and the distance between two individuals. This helps to build a good relationship between people.

Let us know the types of nonverbal communication -

1. Body Language 

The way you carry yourself, i.e. your body movement or postures, can affect people while communicating. Body movements can convey meanings and messages as well. In fact, these signs are made consciously and unconsciously.

For example, someone might cross their arms if they are nervous or angry. Few people bite their nails when they feel tense. 

2. Proximity 

Sometimes, we feel uncomfortable while communicating when others invade our physical space. We all need comfortable physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of relationships. But, this is an important factor in a conversation. 

3. Touch

We also use touch as a part of communication. Most commonly, it is used for comfort, support, or showing confidence. Your firm handshake when you meet people shows how confident you are. We also convey different messages through a warm hug, a patronising pat on the head, tap on someone’s back, or a controlling grip on the arm, etc.

4. Gestures

We use several gestures in our daily lives. For example, we point, wave, beckon, or use hands while arguing, without thinking. However, the meaning of some gestures differ across cultures. 

For instance, in America, people use ‘thumbs up’ to convey, ok message. It is considered offensive in Germany, Russia, and some other places. So, it is important to be careful while using gestures to avoid misinterpretation.

5. Eye Contact 

The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Hence, it is important to maintain proper eye contact while communicating to grab the listener’s attention.

6. Voice

It is not what you say, it is how you say. When you speak people also pay attention to your tone. When you give a gasp or a sigh, people will read your tone. 

Silence is a powerful tone for communication which may have a positive and negative meaning.

Good nonverbal skills can help show your support by expressing you genuinely care.

Now, let’s know tips to brush up your skills.

1. Pay Attention

Try to pay attention to what people speak. When you listen and observe them, you will be able to reply to them in the same manner. This, in turn, shows that you care for them and you are interested to have a conversation with them.

2. Maintain Good Eye Contact

Establish eye contact while speaking to others. This shows the other party that you’re interested in what they are saying. Also, avoid staring, which leads to miscommunication sometimes. 

  • Facial Expressions: Your facial expressions convey your emotions, mostly. Learn to offer a smile while talking, as long as it is not inappropriate to the situation.

  • Maintain Open Body Position: Avoid crossing your arms, it may appear defensive. When your body position is open, it conveys that you are open to listening. Avoid fidgeting when someone is talking to you. This distracts them and makes them feel that you are bored, uncomfortable, or nervous.

  • Tone: Avoid sighing repetitively or speaking in a high pitched voice. Rather, try to speak softly and calmly. Try not to express anger or frustration at your workplace. 

  • Posture: Your body movement is also important. Swinging your legs or drumming your fingers on the table while in a meeting tells that you are impatient. Slouching shows that you are not interested. So, keep looking at your body language and try to improve.

  • Be considerate of personal space: Pay attention to your proximity to others. The amount of physical space you give conveys different emotions. Be respectful of the personal space of others. See that you never make others feel uncomfortable or insecure.

Nonverbal communication is a complex yet integral part of overall communication skills. These skills are more important than verbal communication in most cases. It is good to be aware of your nonverbal behaviour in order to build a healthy relationship with the people you meet.

Written by - Sravanthi Cheerladinne

Edited by - Neha Kundu

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