There are many types of nonverbal communication, much more than what immediately comes to mind. If you ask about it most people will mention body language, which is correct, but there are so many other ways to send a message. This is an amazing subject indeed. For example, have you considered that laughing and crying are also ways of delivering your message to others? When you think about it, it definitely is!
Other means of nonverbal communications may include smiling, pointing your finger at someone, rolling your eyes and saying “huh” and “mmm”. Eye contact can be a powerful tool; not only it can convey your message and get attention, but also make someone fall in love with you.
Sometimes even the choice of clothes you wear or car you drive may be a way of sending a message to the world. Even colors have different meanings in different cultures. Some people will wear red intentionally because it helps them feel bold and more intense. In some cultures black or white can be worn to express mourning and loss. In some others, white is used as a symbol of purity and innocence.
Other often forgotten types of nonverbal communication are art and dance. The tradition of delivering meanings via dance has began long ago. Ancient Indian dancer would sing a song while dancing and using her hands to convey meanings and expressions. They had a set of moves that had meanings, similarly to sign language. Both ballet and modern dance are very expressive; performers typically will wear costumes to tell their story and then something strange happens – we are able to read them like a book. Without one single word, we understand the story.
Drawing and or altering digital images to elicit emotional response is also one of the types of nonverbal communication. Even posting pictures on social media sites is a way of communicating with those who are connected with you on these sites.
Centuries ago in Ancient China women could not marry unless they had bound feet. Foot binding is a horrific practice that involved applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. As a result woman could barely walk. This was supposed to send a message that she is too delicate and cannot work. Similarly, having pale skin was associated with luxury lifestyle and could attract wealthier suitors.
In Turkey young women used coffee to decline or accept man’s proposal to marry. If she served strong and sweet coffee it meant she liked him and was willing to marry. If coffee was bitter and had no sugar, it meant she was not interested.
Even touch and silence can be a way of communicating something. While silence has a meaning only in some situations, touch, unless accidental, always has a meaning.
Another obvious type of nonverbal communication is sign language. There are several types of sign language. Death and blind people use different sign language than those are just deaf.
Sign language of babies comes naturally and is obviously different from those above. Another “natural” sign language you know is sign language you use when communicating with different animals. Most of us mastered the one we use with cats and dogs. However there is more to it when it comes to cattle and horses.
To sum up what was mentioned above here are main types of nonverbal communication:
- body language,
- facial expressions, like frowning,
- sounds like “uh oh” and “huh”,
- crying, smiling and laughing,
- art and digital photography,
- sign language of babies,
- sign language of deaf or deaf and blind,
- sign language to communicate with animals,
- colors, accessories and clothing style,
- eye contact,
- eye movements, like rolling your eyes,
- traditions, like Turkish coffee example.
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