Nonverbal communication, or body language, is a vital form of communication. When we interact with others, we continuously give and receive countless wordless signals. All of our nonverbal behaviors—the gestures we make, the way we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we stand, how much eye contact we make—send strong messages.
The way you listen, look, move, and react tell the other person whether or not you care and how well you’re listening. The nonverbal signals you send either produce a sense of interest, trust, and desire for connection—or they generate disinterest, distrust, and confusion.
Nonverbal communication cues can play five roles:
- Repetition: they can repeat the message the person is making verbally
- Contradiction: they can contradict a message the individual is trying to convey
- Substitution: they can substitute for a verbal message. For example, a person’s eyes can often convey a far more vivid message than words and often do
- Complementing: they may add to or complement a verbal message. A boss who pats a person on the back in addition to giving praise can increase the impact of the message
- Accenting: they may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can underline a message.
Next time we will finish up discussing types of nonverbal communication and body language.
Stay classy, readers!