Forms of Communication – Nonverbal Communication
“The most important part of communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker
Although verbal communication is important, spoken words make up only a small part of communication. The majority of communication is nonverbal. In fact, some research has shown that up to 93% of communication is nonverbal! The amount of communication that is nonverbal shows why it is so important to pay close attention to people’s actions as well as their words.
So how do people communicate non-verbally? Nonverbal communication is made up primarily of facial expressions and body language. Understanding these nonverbal cues helps to fully understand what the speaker is saying. Mastering nonverbal communication will enable you to be a better communicator as you get a better understanding of the nonverbal cues you and the people you communicate with are sending. If you don’t understand nonverbal communication, you will miss out on part of the message. Nonverbal cues can tell you how people feel, if they are telling the truth, and whether or not they are paying attention.
So what are nonverbal cues and how can you identify them? Here is a list of common nonverbal cues that can tell you a lot about what a person is saying:
- Eye contact
- Pace or speed of speech
- Crossed arms or legs
- Posture or body position
- Facial Expressions
Now that you know some nonverbal cues to watch for, you can start looking at what they might mean. When reading nonverbal communication, pay attention to differences between what the people are saying and what they are doing. It is also important that you are aware of your own nonverbal cues. When your words don’t match up with your facial expressions, body language, and posture, people will notice. While they might not actually think, “This person’s nonverbal communication doesn’t match their words,” they will experience feelings of mistrust, uncertainty, and confusion when talking to you.