1. Department of Agricultural Extension
BHOLA PASWAN SHSTRI AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, PURNEA
Non- Verbal Communication
Asstt. Prof. -cum- Jr. Scientist
Because action speaks louder than words
2. If I hear, I forget, if I see, I remember. “One picture is more than a thousand words.
Pictures are a universal language”.
Consider, for example, what these descriptive phrases have in common:
• The twinkle in his eye.
• The edge in her voice.
• The knowing look of their smiles.
• The rigidity of his posture.
• The confidence in her walk.
• Your hairstyle. Your dress.
• Where you sit.
• How closely you stand to another.
• Your eagerness to arrive.
Each of these phrases highlights a nonverbal cue that offers a clue to the
attitudes, feelings, and personality of a person. Despite the presence of such cues, too
often we remain unaware of the messages our bodies, our voices, or the space around us
sends to others. We simply act and react without considering how actions modify,
reinforce, or distort messages.
3. Characteristics of NVC
All Nonverbal Behaviour Has Message Value: You cannot stop sending nonverbal messages. As long as
someone is aware of your presence and is there to decode your nonverbal communication, it is
impossible for you not to communicate. Even if you turn your back on the observer and remove yourself
from his or her sight, you are communicating.
Nonverbal Communication Is Ambiguous :Although nonverbal cues are continuous and frequently
involuntary, others can evaluate them in different ways—that is, what we communicate may be
ambiguous and subject to misinterpretation. One nonverbal cue can trigger a variety of meanings. E.g.
There could be any number of reasons why a person looks at a watch, coughs, or rubs his or her eyes.
Nonverbal Communication Is Predominantly Relational: Many find it easier to communicate emotions
and feelings nonverbally. We convey liking, attraction, anger, and respect for authority nonverbally. In
fact, our primary means of revealing our inner states, that typically are not readily transmitted using
words, is through nonverbal communication. For example, we usually look to the face to assess
emotional state. We look to the mouth to evaluate contempt. We look to the eyes to evaluate
dominance and competence.
Nonverbal Behaviour May Reveal Deception: When a person says one thing but means another, we can
use our deception detection skills to determine that the person’s behaviour contradicts his or her
4. FUNCTIONS OF NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION
Nonverbal cues can contradict or negate verbal messages: Each interaction represents a
double-message—the words say one thing, the nonverbal cues, another. E.g. screaming,
“I’m not angry!” with rude face.
Nonverbal cues can emphasize or underscore a verbal message: For example, when you
raise or lower your voice, or slow down your rate of speech so you can deliberately stress
a series of words. “It is your fault, not mine.”
Nonverbal cues can regulate or control person-to-person interaction: With eye contact,
gestures, and voice we control who should speak next and thus direct the flow of verbal
exchanges. After explaining your stance on an issue, you raise and then lower your
intonation as you say, “And that’s why I feel the way I do.” This, together with your
silence, signals you are finished speaking and another person may comment.
Nonverbal cues can reinforce or complement a verbal message: With your keys and coat
in your hand, you announce, “I have to leave now,” as you walk toward your car.
Nonverbal cues can substitute for or take the place of spoken words: When we don’t
know what to say to express our sorrow at the death of a friend or a relative, an embrace
often suffices. Similarly, when someone asks, “What do you want to do tomorrow?” a
shrug of the shoulders frequently is used in place of “I don’t know.”
5. KINESICS: THE MESSAGES OF MOVEMENT
Kinesics is the study of human body motion. It includes such variables as facial expression, eye
movement, gestures, posture, and walking speed.
Valuable communicator information is contained in the look on your face, whether you stare or avert
your gaze, whether your shoulders are straight or drooped, whether you lips are curved in a smile or
signal contempt with a sneer, and whether your gait suggests eagerness or anxiety.
Face: The face is also the prime communicator of emotion. Our ability to read the emotions depicted
in facial expressions determines whether we will be able to respond appropriately to others’ feelings.
Eye: Eyes reveal the extent of interest and emotional involvement. Eyes influence judgments of
persuasiveness and perceptions of dominance or submissiveness. The pupils of our eyes are a reliable
indicator of emotion. When we take an interest in what another is saying, our blinking rate decreases
and our pupils dilate. Of course, the opposite is equally true.
6. PARALINGUISTICS: THE MESSAGES OF THE VOICE
Often it is not what you say but how you say it that determines an
The words “Yeah, right” convey different meanings depending on whether
they are spoken sincerely or sarcastically, and our interpretation of these
words influences how we respond to the person who said them.
The tone of your voice can help you communicate what you mean to convey,
or it can reveal thoughts you mean to conceal. It can reinforce or negate the
words you speak. The sound of your voice communicates, revealing to others
your emotional state, attitudes, personality, status, and interaction
maintenance, or turn-taking, needs.
7. Proxemics (Science of space)
The distance that the people keep themselves between the speaker and the listener
is termed as proxemics. Space between persons indicates relations at the same time and is a
dimension of interpersonal communication. Personal space and interpersonal distance are
important components of communication. Edward T. Hall in his scholarly work identified
three components of interpersonal distance. They are 1) Intimate 2) Social and 3) Public.
They govern interpersonal relationship.
Intimate: The intimate distance ranges from
Very close – 3” to 6” (for whispers, secrets are intimate communication)
To Close – 8” to 12” for giving confidential information
Near – Distance from 12” to 20” for speaking in a soft voice
Social: Distance range from 20” to 5 feet.
Public: Distance from 6 feet to above 100 feet.
Cultural patterns regulate personal space and interpersonal communication.
According to Edward T.Hall, the interpersonal distance in different cultures is as follows:
e.g., In America – the comfortable distance for social conversation is 2-3 ft. In France, Mexico
and Arab Countries it is shorter than 2 ft.
9. Proxemics: Seating Dynamics
Seating Dynamics – seating people in
certain positions according to the
person’s purpose in communication
10. Sign language
Marks or symbols used to mean something is termed as signs of language. e.g.
The language system of deaf people.
11. Action language
It is a language of movements. Some people do what they say while some others
say one thing but do another.
12. Objective languages (Artefacts)
It is non – verbal message communicated through appearance of objects. i.e.,
their display and arrangement. This method may include intentional or
unintentional communication of material things like clothing, ornaments,
books, buildings, room furniture, and interior decoration etc., Objective
language speaks something. It refers to dress and decoration which
communicate a great deal about speaker’s feelings, emotions, attitudes;
opinions etc., Clocks, jewellery, hairstyle, and interior decorative items
communicate something. Their revealing is symbolic, communicating
something special about the person
Time speaks. Time also conveys the message. e.g.: A telephone call at too early
hours or late night conveys significant message. (1 A. M. or 2 A. M. urgent
Non – verbal things in communication are called paralanguage. Sounds are the
basis for paralanguage. Paralanguage include tone of voice, power or
emphasis, pitch, rhythm, volume, pause or break in sentence, speed of
delivery, loudness or softness. Paralanguage can be divided into four parts
Voice qualities: Pitch, resonance, volume rate and rhythm
Vocal characterisers: Embracing laughter, coughing, throat clearing and
Vocal qualifiers: Referring to variations in pitch and volume
Vocal segregates: Including the silent sound such as ‘ahs’ and ‘ers’ and
These languages do much to influence meaning.
Gestures E.g.: Thumbs Up, sitting position
Eye contact: Serves as a signal of readiness to interact.
Tactile (touch):- one of the earliest methods of communication of human
The science dealing with touch is HAPTICS. e.g.: Infants learn much about
environment by touching, feeling, cuddling and tasting. Touch is a powerful
communication tool. The science dealing with speech sounds in PHONETICS.
The study of how we perceive, structure, and react to time and of the
messages we interpret from such usage. Our concept of time is central to the
way we view the world. In American culture, time is the master and people
are the slaves having a strong sense of urgency and a strong feeling that they
must move forward into the future. In addition, it is often connected with
status: the higher the status the more control we have over our time. (You
wait for the doctor, as an example.)