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Sunny Khanna
Non-verbal communication is the art of conveying a
wordless message with signs, cues and symbols.

These signs, cues or symbols can be expressed through
gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice,
time, space or choice of words.
Non-verbal communication can be categorized into
discrete sets and patterns. These categories are as follows:

Personal Appearance
Personal Appearance
Hair Style

Attire and grooming play an important role in creating first impressions. A
neat and tidily turned person always elicits a positive response.
It is also necessary to dress to the occasion i.e. a persons attire should fit
in with the situation.

Also, it would be inappropriate to be adorned in heavy jewellery in office.
Some companies use uniforms to promote equality in their organizations.

The study of the role of eyes in non-verbal communication is referred
to as oculesics. People who look straight into the eyes are said to be
more effective and persuasive. Eye contact indicates interest,
attention and involvement.

Effective eye contact depends on the following factors:
oDuration: During a professional speech, it is recommended that a
direct contact of one second into someones eyes is enough. Anything
longer might be considered inappropriate.
oShyness: Since eye contact involves intimacy, introverts often have
trouble with it. A face-to-face communication or a direct eye contact
may make them nervous.
oCultural Differences: Direct eye contacts also have different
meanings in various cultures. In USA, direct eye contact is considered
as a sign of confidence, while in Asia and Africa, direct eye contact is
avoided as a sign of respect.


Posture can be used to determine a participants degree of attention or
involvement. Posture is understood through indicators, such as
direction of lean, body orientation, arm position and body openness.

To be perceived as confident, the following principles should be

oKeep the spine straight
oKeep the head erect
oStand on feet slightly apart
oSit straight and leaning forward
Facial Expression
The face is often referred to as the reflection of personality. A smiling
expression can generate positive feelings around. However, smiling all
the time is also not desirable.

People can show their confidence, energy and enthusiasm through
their face.

A gesture is a non-vocal bodily movement intended to express meaning.
Gestures can be classified into the following five categories:

oEmblems-These are the gestures with universal direct verbal
translations. For example, nod of head, goodbye wave, etc
oIllustrators-These gestures depict what is said verbally i.e. they are
used along with verbal communication. For example, pointing towards
the road while giving directions.
oAffect Display-These are the gestures which convey emotions. For
example, a smile, hug or tears.
oRegulators-These gestures control and complement interaction. For
example, hand gestures, movements of head and eyes.
oAdaptor-These gestures facilitate in the release of bodily tensions.
For example, quick movement of legs, smoking, etc

Haptics is the form of non-verbal communication which involves
touch. It is dependent on the context of the situation, relationship
between communicators and manner of touch. Some common
examples are handshakes, pat on the shoulder and handholding.

This form of communication may differ across cultures. In countries
like Japan and United States, touching may not be taken very well,
whereas in countries like Italy and Middle East, touching is perceived
to be good.
Proxemics can be defined as the interrelated observations and
theories of man's use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture.
It can also be viewed as the study of the behavioral and sociological
aspects of spatial distances(i.e. territories) between individuals.

There are four areas of ones personal territory. The distance of these
areas from an individual are as follows:

Public Space ranges from 12 to 25 feet. It is the distance maintained
between the audience and a speaker in a formal public gathering.
Social Space ranges from 4 to 12 feet. It is used among business
associates, board room meetings, etc
Personal Space ranges from 2 to 4 feet. It is used among close
friends and family members
Intimate Space extends to a maximum of one foot. This space is
reserved for extremely close relationships, say, spouse or children.
Paralanguage is the study of non-verbal cues of voice. It includes various
acoustic properties of speech, such as tone, pitch and accent,
collectively known as voice modulation.
Paralanguage has the power to change the implications of a message.

Voice conveys various types of information about a person, which
include gender, background, education and temperament
Pitch variation helps to keep the listener excited and interested in the
Pace-It is essential to know whether the speed of the speech is
adequate for the listeners understanding
Pause-It is important to take appropriate pauses while speaking.
Although, frequent and arbitrary pauses may lead to distraction and loss
of interest.
Chronemics is the study of the use of time in non-verbal
communication. The way we perceive time, structure our time and
react to time helps frame the effectiveness of communication.

Time perceptions include punctuality and willingness to wait, speed of
speech and how long people are willing to listen.

Time can also be used as an indicator of status. For example, the boss
of a company can interrupt progess to hold an impromptu meeting in
the middle of the day, whereas the average worker would have to
make an appointment to see the boss.