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Types of Nonverbal Communication and Their Functions

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Types of Nonverbal Communication and Their Functions

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  • August 2008
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Types of Nonverbal Communication and their functions
A large percentage of meanings, approximately 65% of all communications, we derive from interactions is derived from the nonverbal cues that the other person gives. , Nonverbal communication is defined as messages expressed through symbols instead of words. It is non-linguistic. Nonverbal communications include gestures, eye contact, voice, touch, smell, facial expressions, proxemics, time and artifactics. Although there are many nonverbal cues, we are going to focus on the following five cues, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, touch and voice, with examples, in this essay. And before we end, we will discuss how these nonverbal cues may transmit different meanings in different context.

Our face expresses a thousand emotions and it is one of the most powerful ways of expressing nonverbal communication. It is a canvas, where emotions are drawn vividly, erased and, redrawn with another emotion instantly. A true emotion can be differentiated from a fake emotion just by the looks of our expressions. More often than not, one can tell how the person feels before even a word is said. While nonverbal communication can vary dramatically between different cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger and fear are similar throughout the world. Pictures 1.1 to 1.3 show a form teacher having a chat with one of his pupils outside their classroom. In Picture 1.1, the teacher, with his lips slightly apart, cheeks pushed upwards and eyes slightly closed, portrays a pleasant front. This is reciprocated by the pupil who is also smiling while looking at the teacher. They are actually having a very pleasant chat as it is the pupil’s last day in school before following his parents to Albania. In Picture 1.2, the teacher’s eyes are slightly bigger and he is not smiling. Rather, the teacher is portraying what is often called a ‘poker face’ as he is investigating a complaint and he doesn’t want...