Intro to Business Communication

Non-verbal Communication

In earlier segments, we covered everything we need to know about verbal communication, In this chapter, we will discuss nonverbal communication definition.  Non-verbal communication is the communication that happens through our body language, movements, eye-contact, facial expressions, body posture, gestures, etc.

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Nonverbal Communication Definition

They say when we speak in person with someone, the biggest factor of our communication isn’t our words but these elements that are called non-verbal communication.

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Few Nonverbal Communication give-aways

  • Pointing of your toes with the speaker in the room means you have a rapport with them.
  • When you are in the company of others and you have crossed your hands on your chest, it means you are hesitant to this situation or do not agree with what’s being said.
  • If you keep shaking your legs in rapid movements, it shows impulsiveness and could be disrespectful in formal situations.
  • If you do not make eye contact while speaking to or listening to others, it means either you are disinterested, holding up things you want to say, or are lying. Haven’t we all looked down while lying to our mothers in childhood?
  • If someone looks at you while they laugh, they seek approval or validation from you. If you look at them while they laugh, you validate them and want them to know this.

Decoding Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication involves the conscious and unconscious processes of encoding and decoding. Encoding is the act of generating information such as facial expressions, movements, gestures, and postures. This encoding of information utilizes signals which we may think applies to all.

nonverbal communication definitionDecoding is the interpretation of information from received sensations given by the encoder. We use our senses to process and perceive information.

For example, if I am smiling at you while talking to you, you know you have my attention and interest. On the other hand, if I am looking into my phone screen or on the walls while you are talking to me, you know that you don’t have my interest.

Culture and Non-verbal Communication

Culture is an essential part of non-verbal communication, and it is one aspect that helps to influence how learning activities are organized. In many Indian cultures, for example, the first greeting is joining of hands and saying Namastey.

Most of us are taught to do this as kids when we met elders. In this sense, learning is not dependent on verbal communication; rather, it is non-verbal communication which serves as a primary means of not only organizing interpersonal interactions but also conveying cultural values.

As we grow up, we pick on such gestures, movements, actions and as we speak it comes out naturally in us. When we get introduced to the professional environment, we are taught more such non-verbal communication.

For example, accepting a visiting card from someone with both hands is known to be the humble way to do it. Accepting it with one hand between your fingers, without actually looking at it is considered rude.

Solved Questions on Non-verbal Communication

Question: You are giving a speech, which one of the following should you do:

a. make eye contact with your friend only

b. make eye contact in all directions of people while giving an adequate amount of time to each

c. stare at a person profusely

d. Look away from them as much as possible


b. make eye contact in all directions of people while giving an adequate amount of time to each

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