Non-Verbal Communication: 10 Effective Ways to Improve It

The Non-Verbal Communication and non – verbal language is communication by sending and receiving non – verbal cues, speechless. It includes the use of visual cues such as body language, distance, voice, touch and appearance. It can also include the use of time and eye contact.

Throughout this article I will show you 10 ways to improve your non-verbal communication, making you more aware and involved in it.

Non-verbal communication

Have you ever stopped to think about everything you communicate in a non-verbal way? Are you aware of the amount of information you convey through gestures, expressions or gaze? Would you know how to improve this communication?

To communicate is not enough for two people to talk to each other, but there are other factors to take into account that they influence more than you think about such communication, as their attitudes or their body postures.

When is non-verbal communication used?

Non-verbal communication is used in conjunction with verbal communication and, although at first you may consider gestures to complement words, the truth is that words are a support for gestures.

This is because non-verbal communication is much more sincere and spontaneous than verbal communication. For this reason you are able to detect that a person is sad or worried although verbally says otherwise.

Your gestures are directly connected to your emotions. In this way, you can use body language both to show your feelings and to camouflage them.

Such is the importance of nonverbal communication, that approximately 55% of the message you communicate through this communication, that is  , more than half of the message you transmit you do without verbalising a single word.

The rest of the message is communicated through words (7%) and paraverbal aspects (38%). These percentages have been extracted from the studies of the German psychologist Albert Mehrabian.

In all communication is necessary non-verbal communication, in fact, it is inevitable to communicate in this way.

To prove it, I propose an exercise: try to communicate a message to someone close to you without using non-verbal communication, that is, without gesturing, without transmitting with your eyes, without showing your attitude towards the subject … is it difficult, is it?

Nonverbal communication is an inherent part of your communication. In fact, the clothes you wear and even your body odor are part of your non- verbal communication.

Some examples: the posture of your arms, your feet, how you smile, the dilation of your pupils, the distance you are from the other person…

Non-verbal communication in society is also used to communicate laws or regulations, such as road signs or fire alarms.

Many new technologies limit communication to writing, preventing you from communicating through the paraverbal and non-verbal.

This limitation is the cause of misunderstandings, discussions and even breaks when talking through social networks or the telephone.

The problem is that it is not adequately captured what the broadcaster wants to transmit, so the receiver has to interpret the message freely, with the confusion that this entails.

5 Things you should know about non-verbal communication

  • The only nonverbal behaviors that are universal around the world are the facial expressions of hate, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise and fear. The rest of them are culture-specific. For example, in the West, eye contact means respect and is well seen. However, in the East it can mean romantic interest and tends to be avoided.
  • The ability to read non-verbal language is related to emotional intelligence. Many people with autism can not read non-verbal signals.
  • Body language can be ambiguous and experts do not always succeed. Even if you’ve seen series and documentaries that interpret other people’s non-verbal behavior, you may not always be right. For example, you can touch your nose because it hurts, you have had a blow or you are cold. It does not mean that if you touch your nose or you put your hand in your mouth while speaking you are lying.
  • Most non-verbal language is unconscious. If you are uncomfortable listening to someone you will show non-verbal signals that you are not aware of (unless you intentionally try to control them).
  • Microexpressions are better at predicting emotions and feelings. They are facial expressions that only last a fraction of a second and are signs of feeling an emotion or trying to suppress it.

10 ways to improve your non-verbal communication

Next, I will analyze 10 forms of non-verbal communication, through which you will be more aware of the importance of your gestures and attitudes, thus improving your non-verbal communication.

  1. The look

Gaze is a very important element in nonverbal communication, since the eyes are the most expressive part of the face due to its intimate connection with  emotions. Your role in communication is essential.

When you pay attention to something or someone your pupils dilate and when something displeases you contract.

The time during which the look is maintained gives us much information about the other person.

Timid people are not able to keep their eyes on each other for a long time, people who stare transmit a defiant or aggressive attitude and those who look directly into the eyes convey more positive feelings.

Regarding gender, women look more than men when they communicate because they feel less alibi to express their emotions and are more receptive to listening and understanding the emotions of others.

The differences between men and women are due to children being taught to control and camouflage their feelings.

Tip: When it comes to talking and listening to others, try to look directly to make a better impression, avoiding that look becoming defiant.

  1. The smile

Smile helps you to empathize, to show your feelings and emotions and to detect the feelings of others, but how do you know if someone smiles at you sincerely or is pretending?

Very simple, people who smile in a sincere and spontaneous way move the muscles of the mouth, those around the eyes and raise their cheeks, while people who pretend only move the muscles of the mouth.

That is, people who smile sincerely are marked with crow’s feet while raising cheekbones, while people who pretend not.

Tip: Faking a smile is difficult, but to detect it is not so much. Look at the people around you, how they smile and learn to detect between those who sincerely show you their feelings and those who do not.

  1. The arms

The most common gesture you perform with your arms is to cross them. With this gesture what you believe is a barrier with which you try to take away from you those  undesirable circumstances that do not please or annoy you.

When you cross your arms you transmit a defensive, negative attitude, and if you have your fists closed, that attitude becomes a hostile attitude.

The defense barrier you create with your arms can also be created with everyday objects like a book, a jacket, a bag…

Tip: if you want to detect if a person is defensive with you, look at his arms, just like if you want to hide your anger or rejection towards someone, do not cross them.

  1. The hands

In non-verbal communication hands are very important, although many times you are not aware of it.

Showing the palms of the hands means truth, honesty, that you hide nothing. On the contrary, if you keep your hands inside your pockets, that is, do not show them, it means that you hide something.

However, if your hands are in your pockets but the thumb appears or the thumb is in the pocket and the rest of the fingers appear, it means that you have everything controlled.

Tip: if you want to give a good impression show your hands, you do not have to do anything concrete with them, just do not hide them to give a better image of you.

  1. The legs

When you sit and cross your legs symbolizes the same as when you cross your arms: a negative attitude towards something or someone.

Non-Verbal Communication

The crossing of arms is more negative than the crossing of legs and if both are already produced at the same time, the defensive and negative attitude is more than evident.

Be careful when interpreting this gesture in women, since some of them cross their legs when sitting because they believe that posture is more elegant and feminine.

Tip: As with your arms, knowing what crossing legs means helps you both to detect defensive attitudes and to disguise them.

  1. The feet

The feet are a part of the body that we do not usually fix, we pay more attention to the gestures of the face or hands rather than the

This is a mistake since the feet do not lie; in fact they reveal more information than you can at first think.

For example, if you stand and cross one foot over another you convey a sense of closure towards others, and if you twist your foot from the side of the ankle outward it means that you are uncomfortable in the situation you are in.

Regarding the direction of your feet, if you are talking to someone and instead of having both feet facing that person you have one looking to the side, it means that you want to leave, to escape from that situation or to stop talking to that person.

Also Read: 9 Skills of People with Emotional Intelligence

Tip: If you learn to interpret what the feet say about a person, it will be easier to interact with it: you will know when you want to leave, if you are uncomfortable or closed to others.

  1. The greeting

We can greet each other in two different ways: with two kisses or with a handshake. The first greeting is used with people closer and, the second, with strangers.

The way of giving the handshake says a lot about a person. If the grip is weak what you show is passivity and lack of confidence in yourself,  just as if the grip is too strong you are dominant and aggressive.

Tip: The ideal is to give a squeeze that is between the two described above, in such a way that you show yourself confident and confident of yourself.

  1. Personal space

The space you establish when it comes to communicating with another person is very important.

Edward Hall, an American anthropologist, describes four different types of distances:

  • Intimate distance: between 15 and 45 cm. This distance is established only with people of great confidence and to whom you are emotionally attached.
  • Personal distance: between 46 and 120 cm. It’s the distance you keep at a party, at work, in friendly conversations…
  • Social distance: between 120 and 360 cm. It is the distance that you establish with the strangers with whom you have no relation, as for example the plumber.
  • Public distance: more than 360 cm. It is the distance you are when you are going to speak in public before a group of people.

Tip: The ideal is to respect the personal space of the other person depending on the type of relationship you have so that the other person does not feel invaded or intimidated.

  1. Body posture

The body posture that you adopt influences a lot in the first impressions that causes.

For example, if you enter a room with your head high and your chest upright you will show a confident and confident personality and, conversely, if you enter with your head and shoulders down what you transmit is insecurity.

Tip: reflect on the type of posture you usually adopt and learn to show yourself safe to others through your body.

  1. The image

The image, like body posture, greatly influences the first impressions.

It is very important to have a careful and adequate image to the situations you face on a daily basis, that is, you are not dressed the same way to a job interview as when you go out partying with friends.

Tip: Having a proper and correct image to the situation opens many doors. Take care of your physical appearance and remember that “there is no second chance to make a good first impression”.

“By the fingerprints of a man, by the sleeves of his coat, by his boots, by the knees of his pants, by the calluses of his fingers, by his expression, by the cuffs of his shirt, by his movements … each One of these things easily reveals a man’s intentions. That all this united does not shed light on the competent interrogator is practically inconceivable. “Sherlock Holmes.

The communication

Communication is the process by which information is transmitted and exchanged between an issuer and a receiver.

Today we live in a society in which we communicate constantly, whether talking face to face, by phone, by email, through instant messaging  … and is normal, since the human being is a sociable being by nature.

Within the communication we can differentiate between:

  • Verbal communication.
  • Communication paraverbal.
  • Non-verbal communication.

Verbal communication is what you do orally and in writing.

The paraverbal communication refers to how you say things, ie what type of intonation you use, what speed, what volume, what rhythm, what emphasis … This type of communication allows you, for example, to ask, exclaim or be ironic.

Nonverbal communication occurs through signs and signs that lack a verbal syntactic structure and is the type of communication in which I will focus throughout this article.

When we speak of non-verbal communication we refer to the looks, gestures, postures, attitudes, states, body movements … that you show when communicating.

In short: verbal communication is what you say, the paraverbal is how you say it and the nonverbal is what you transmit. The set of these three types of communication allows you to correctly get your message to the recipient.

When some type of communication fails, it is most likely that the person to whom you want to transmit the message receives it incorrectly, leading  to misunderstandings and confusion.


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