Chapter 4: Nonverbal Communication

22 Introduction

Chapter 4 Learning Outcomes

  1. Give examples of nonverbal communication and describe its role in the communication process.
  2. Explain the principles of nonverbal communication.
  3. Describe the similarities and differences among eight general types of nonverbal communication.
  4. Demonstrate how to use movement to increase the effectiveness of your message.
  5. Demonstrate three ways to improve nonverbal communication.

image of a man with a moustacheDhavit is getting some feedback from his team that facilitation participants think he is angry or upset during question and answer sessions. One of his colleague has noticed that Dhavit’s arms are often crossed when concerns are being raised, and his facial expression sometimes indicates that he feels threatened by criticisms of organizational systems. As you read through this chapter, consider what might be happening and how Dhavit might adjust his facial expressions and body language as part of dialogue with staff members.

Nonverbal communication has a distinct history and serves separate evolutionary functions from verbal communication. For example, nonverbal communication is primarily biologically based while verbal communication is primarily culturally based. This is evidenced by the fact that some nonverbal communication has the same meaning across cultures while no verbal communication systems share that same universal recognizability (Andersen, 1999). Nonverbal communication also evolved earlier than verbal communication and served an early and important survival function that helped humans later develop verbal communication. While some of our nonverbal communication abilities, like our sense of smell, lost strength as our verbal capacities increased, other abilities like paralanguage and movement have grown alongside verbal complexity. The fact that nonverbal communication is processed by an older part of our brain makes it more instinctual and involuntary than verbal communication.

Chapter Preview

  • Principles of Nonverbal Communication
  • Types of Nonverbal Communication
  • Movements in your Speech
  • Nonverbal Strategies for Success with Your Audience
  • Conclusion


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