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What is Nonverbal Communication?

Term “Nonverbal” itself means “without or in absence of words”. Everything we observe experience and sense through different sensory organs and eventually respond to is nonverbal. Nonverbal Communication is a very vast domain of understanding and interpreting behavior, expressions, conditions and statuses of different entities and also conveying message or responding to them - people, creatures and natural or artificial objects.

Most of us confuse term Body Language with Nonverbal Communication. In fact, Body Language and Nonverbal Communication are two different scientific terminologies but they're also closely related with each other. Perhaps, most of us might have skill or ability to pick body language clues but may not be interpret them precisely through other perspectives of communication.


Body Language is related with social cognition whereas Nonverbal Communication include Vocal (Para Linguistics), Peripheral and Contextual factors according to which human behavior or expressions can be preciously analyzed. Kinesics is the new scientific field related to interpretation of different elements of body language in different practical situations.

Nonverbal Communication broadly includes following factors:
A) Kinesics or Physical: Postures, Body Movements, Body Orientation, Gestures (Emblems, Illustrators and Regulators),
Facial expressions (Macro, Micro and Subtle), Oculesics (Eye contact, gaze and glancing), Pupilometry (Interpretation of Psychological state by measuring pupil size), Haptics (Touch), Proxemics (Interpersonal/Social Distance) and Sympathetic-Parasympathetic Displays
B) Vocal (Para Linguistics): Tone, Pitch, Rhythm, Annotation and also Silence
C) Peripheral: Objects, Attire,
Chromatics (Color), Olfactics (Smell), Thermal and Chemical Signals
D) Contextual: Physical Environment, Social Situation, Culture Norms, Genetic Inheritance  and
Chronemics (Time
)

Without considering context, clustering and congruence (integrity among different nonverbal elements); both understanding and conveying message can lead us to nowhere.


I hope that next time anybody mentions about body language and nonverbal communication, you would definitely understand the difference and also relationship between these two catchwords. Now, you have knowledge and power to explore and understand the “Nonverbal World” around yourself.

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1 comment:

  1. An excellent article & an eye opener.

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