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Nonverbal Communication: Types and Meanings



Nonverbal communication is a powerful way to express yourself. It can convey messages that you might not be able to say with words. It can also help you better understand the nonverbal cues that others are sending to you. This guide will focus on some key aspects of nonverbal communication, including eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, posture (kinesics), signs, and, paralanguage.

Eye contact

Eye contact is a powerful form of nonverbal communication. In fact, it’s often the first thing we notice about someone else. If you’re having trouble making eye contact with someone, try looking at their chin or nose first!

When speaking to someone face-to-face (or even remotely), there are many reasons why you might want to make eye contact:

  • Negotiating: When negotiating with another person, maintaining eye contact helps show respect and confidence in your position while also showing that you’re serious about reaching an agreement.

Facial expressions

Facial expressions are a major part of nonverbal communication. They can be involuntary, which means they are not under conscious control and show how you feel without your permission.

Facial expressions are also a reflection of how we feel, which means that if you don’t like something someone says or does, it’s likely that their facial expression will match the way they feel about what just happened.

Facial expressions can help us understand one another better by showing whether someone wants to talk about something or not—and this information is vital for social situations where there is no verbal language involved (like when meeting new people).

Tone of voice

The tone of voice is an important part of nonverbal communication. It can be used to convey emotion, mood, and sarcasm. The tone of voice can also be used to show enthusiasm or anger.

Body language and posture (kinesics)

Body language is a form of nonverbal communication. It’s an expression of how you feel, and it can be your first clue to what someone wants from you.

Body language is also called kinesics or body motion studies because that’s exactly what it examines: movement in the body (in other words, gestures). People use this form of communication most often when they’re speaking with others who have not yet learned sign language or spoken English well enough to read lips—that is if they’re communicating at all!

Hand gestures, touch, and body positioning (proxemics)

Hand gestures, touch, and body positioning (proxemics) are all examples of nonverbal communication. Proxemics is the study of the use of space between people. It can be used to express emotion, but it can also be used to avoid conflict or tension by taking up less space than your opponent does. Proxemics has been shown to affect how we perceive others: if you’re sitting next to someone in an intimate setting, for example, then a larger distance may indicate their higher status than something closer would indicate.

Spatial distance between people in conversation (territoriality)

Here are some examples of how you can use spatial distance to communicate:

  • You’re sitting at a table, and the person next to you is leaning back in their chair. It’s important that they know that this means they don’t need to worry about accidentally touching your shoulder or arm (which would be rude).
  • If someone has their arms crossed, it means they’re feeling defensive or angry with you. This can be a good thing if there’s some tension between both of your parties involved—the crossing arms signal “I’m not here for small talk.” But if someone is crossing their arms while talking with another person who seems friendly and open-minded (like an old friend), then it could mean that he/she doesn’t feel comfortable opening up more than necessary without feeling threatened by those around him/her – which makes sense because nobody wants anyone else invading personal space!
  • A handshake signals respect in business settings but also helps show how much somebody cares for another person; however, if done incorrectly then these gestures may come off as aggressive instead!


Signs are a form of nonverbal communication that uses hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate. They’re not universal, but they’re still one of the most common forms of nonverbal communication. Signs can be used by anyone who has lost their hearing or speech due to some kind of injury or illness, but they’re especially useful when you want to talk about something without using words.

Signs are also called “symbols,” “gestures,” “handshapes” and “signs.”


Paralanguage is the way you say something. It can be used to convey emotion, emphasis, or sarcasm. For example, a person may say “I’m sorry” while they are laughing with friends. This can be interpreted as being sarcastic because they’re saying they’re sorry when they don’t really mean it (or have any intention of actually doing anything about their comment).

Nonverbal communication is a very important part of how you communicate with others.

Nonverbal communication is important in all cultures. It’s a way to communicate without words, and it can be used to show a person’s emotions, attitude toward others, and what they want from them. For example: if you’re walking down the street with a friend and you see someone else who looks like he or she might want to talk with you about something important (like how cool your sneakers are), then perhaps it would be appropriate for them to say “hi” first before asking what’s going on! You may find that this person has been waiting for some time already because maybe they’ve been waiting for someone who looked just like YOU!


I hope that this post has helped you get a better understanding of nonverbal communication and its importance in relationships. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important elements of communication, because it allows us to understand each other on a deeper level (which is why I believe it’s so important). If we can learn how to use these tools effectively then our relationships will become more authentic and meaningful.