Non verbal communication refers to the communication that makes use of sign language and body language understood by both the parties to communicate a message. Sign Language can be further divided into Visual Signals and Audio Signals. However, apart from body and sign language, the voice of the communicator, the environment, surroundings, colours, timing of the message communicated plays a crucial role in making non verbal communication an effective one.
Non verbal Communication can be categorized into:
- Sign Language – Audio and Visual Signal
- Body Language
Signs do not belong to any particular language but are common to almost all regions in the world. As goes the cliché, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. Sign language expressed through body movements is highly effective in many types of communication. Signs and symbols have a greater reach to people of all ages than words, as education is not required for understanding visual signals. Some common examples for signs and symbols are the traffic lights and indications, symbols used in public toilets and roads etc.
Advantages of Visual symbols and signals
- Visual representation of brands has more reach to the targeted audience than words. They make good tools for advertising products and services
- Visual representation of ideas minimize the cost since they occupy minimal space in the area planned for advertising
- Visual symbols and signs attract the interest of the users and motivate customers to go in for the brand
- Visual representation brings out the background and principles of the communicator in a perfect manner
Audio Signals and signs play a crucial role in Non Verbal Communication. Audio Signals communicate the intended emotions in the form of sounds that are different for varying emotions. Some common examples for Audio signals are the Alarm clock which sets time for waking up and many other activities. Drumbeats, Fire Alarms, Work Shift Alarms, VIP Vehicle Alarms are some more examples for Audio signals that are commonly understood by people.
Key advantages of Sound signals
- Sound signals convey the intended message to all concerned within short span of time
- Sound Signals help people manage their time in an effective manner during different kinds of occasions
- Sound Signals used in a typical factory or Industry setup acts as work initiators
- Sound Signals used in vehicles like Ambulance helps the medical industry save lives at the appropriate times
Body Language & Non Verbal Communication
Body Language is that aspect of non verbal communication which speaks volumes without use of words. Each part of the human body responds to different situations in a varied manner. While a tensed person exhibits stiffness, a relaxed person on the other hand exhibits tension free body posture and gestures. Particularly in a typical business scenario, Body Language plays a crucial role in ascertaining the role each employee plays in the organization and their efficiency levels in performing their duties. Body Language is a science by itself. A brief look at the signals communicated by the various parts of human body will facilitate understanding the science called Body Language in a clear manner.
Head plays a crucial role in communicating about the personality of the person present during a situation. When a person holds his head high, it displays his high confidence levels and self-respect he has for himself. A lowered head exhibits the person’s diffidence and modesty and nodding the head vertically or horizontally displays one’s agreement or disagreement to what is being communicated. Nodding the head adds value to listening and is one of the most important aspect of non verbal communication.
Face reflects what we think in a perfect manner. Face acts as the index of the mind and speaks louder than thousands of words. A person`s facial expressions reveal their pleasure or displeasure, acceptance or non-acceptance regarding what is being discussed in a vivid manner through lines and wrinkles. The lines that run around the cheeks, underneath the eyes, above the eye brows and around the lip regions speaks volumes about our liking and disliking of what is communicated at all points of time. Particularly in a typical business environment, it is important that facial expressions are controlled in a conscious manner to maintain the decorum.
Eyes convey a lot more than the signals displayed by the complete bodily organs. Direct Eye Contact is considered as a gesture that conveys the confidence and honesty levels of people during a face to face communication. A person making direct eye contact with the interviewer is said to be confident about his skill sets and has higher chances of grabbing the job for which he is attending the interview. When a person raises the eye lid he is said to be surprised or awe struck. When the pupils pop out expanding in size and the eye brows are risen, the person is said to be frightened. Rapid eye ball movements towards both sides of the face displays the tension being experienced by the person who does the same.
Signals displayed with the use of limbs, torso and other parts of the body are termed as gestures. Gestures make a huge impact conveying what is intended to be communicated in the perfect manner. The position of Torso indicates the intensity levels of feelings experienced by the person. Pounding with the fist on the surface in front denotes the angry mood the person is in. Forming a ‘O’ by joining the Thumb and Forefinger indicates the acceptance of people to the information communicated.
Postures convey more than we aspire for
Right from the walking style, sitting aspects, standing shape, every movement of human body conveys many things about the person in a vivid manner. It is important to consciously practice body language so we are able to exert control over the same during important situations like attending an interview or an official meeting with higher ups. When we consciously practice Body Language, we control what our gestures must communicate to others rather than our body language controlling our growth.
Other factors influencing communication
Non Verbal Communication is also termed as Para Language communication. Para Language focuses on the voice, the way of speaking and related attributes of the Communicator.
Voice of the Communicator – Voice of people communicating information and facts matter the most in making the same an effective one. A clear voice that lacks shivering points to high confidence levels of the speaker who might be a subject expert. Control over voice can be practiced by focusing on the following aspects:
- Variation in Pitch to suit the emotion conveyed
- Talking Speed
- Pause frequency
- Variation in volume
- Fluency in communication
- Cogency (quality of being clear, logical and convincing) in the subject matter
- Stressing on important words
Environment and Surroundings
Environment plays a prominent role in making any communication effective or ineffective. The distance between the communicator and the receiver is important since the same conveys different meaning in varying situations.
- Public Communication – Happens with a distance between the communicator and the receiver(s) being 12 feet and more. In this type of communication, huge gathering of people get addressed through public announcement systems and other such infrastructure.
- Social Communication – Is the type of communication that happens between people in a distance between 4 feet to 12 feet. This type of communication happens between a boss and his employee and people in similar hierarchical relationships. The communication that happens is generally very formal in nature.
- Personal Communication – Happens between people standing in a distance of 18 inches to 4 feet. This is the manner in which we usually speak with our close acquaintances like friends and colleagues.
- Intimate Communication – Is the type of communication that happens between people who stand holding each other till a distance of 18 inches apart from each other. People whisper to each other and only the two of them concerned is able to hear each other.