What are the different types of non-verbal communication? How can non-verbal communication make or break a speech?

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Figure 1: Non verbal communication Sources: https://masteringmanagementcommunication.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/verbal.jpg

Communication is transferring information between one person and another.  ‘Non-verbal communications were a message is sent by means other than words’. Cenere et al.  (2015 p. 55). Non-verbal communication including facial expressions, hand and arm signals, positions, and various movements of the body. Non-verbal communication can be divided into four categories:

  • Aesthetic/Visual
  • Physical
  • Signs

Aesthetic communication happens through artistic expression.  Which include all arts: music, dance, theater, crafts, art and painting.  Ballet dance is a great illustration of this, as there are dance and music, but no spoken or sung words.

Physical communication wraps the individual kind of communication. Its contain smile, sparkle, gesture, smell and other physical movements.

Signs are a more perfunctory type of non-verbal communication. This covers signal flags or light and gesture.

Figure 2: sign Sources: http://passionforfreshideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/p-sign-language.jpg

Symbols of communication are used for individual class or religious. This includes clothing, jewellery, cars and additional item to communicate social status, social group or religion.

There are many ways non-verbal communication can make or break a speech such as Curbside appeal, the colour blue, proactive movement, unveiling, location, manners and  the use of time etc. According to Peter F. Drucker, ‘The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.’

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figure 3 Non verbal communication graph Sources: https://masteringmanagementcommunication.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/verbal.jpg

Professor Albert Mehrabian found in his experiments ‘in the case of inconsistency between verbal and non-verbal communication facial expression are the most dominant, the vocal component ranks second and word is the least significant.’ According to Albert Mehrabian Formula: ‘total feeling = 7% verbal feeling + 38% vocal feeling + 55 % facial Feeling’ (Mehrabian 1977). There is a saying “what we say may not matter but the way we say it matters a lot”. Non-verbal communication gives the life in a speech.



Cenere, P, Gill, R, Lawson, C, Lewis, M 2015, Communication skills for business professionals 7thedition, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

Jasper, M , 2014, Examples of NonVerbal Communication, viewed 7 May 2016, http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-non-verbal-communication.html#HfLXw52QVAU1IM32.99

Desmarais, C, 2016, 8 Ways Nonverbal Communication Can Make or Break Your Brand, viewed 8 May 2016, http://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/8-ways-nonverbal-communication-can-make-or-break-your-brand.html


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What makes a good public speaker?

Public speaking involves talking in front of a group of people, usually with some preparation. It can be in front of people that we know or a crowd of strangers.

According to Nicole Bianchi on (2013, pp.1-4) there are 7 Keys to Effective Public Speaking

Be Passionate: speaker needs to be passionate about the subject what he is speaking. This will give speaker more motivation. If the speaker is passionate about a topic, that energy will transfer to the audience through speech.

Prepare: speaker needs to prepare what to say in their speech. They can write the whole speech or main point from on the topic. So that they can have a look while they speaking.

Create a Strong Outline: once speaker researched the topic, they need to create an outline for them. This will help to stay within the time limit, avoid talking pointlessly, and cover all of the most important points. An outline gives the speech a logical flow, making it easier for the audience to follow along.

Talk Slowly: Think about the audience. If the speaker is speaking too fast or too slow audience will lose concertinas.

Memorize Speech: It is always good to memorize the speech to present the main point of the topic.

Study Great Speeches:  Speaker needs to study other great speaker speech. How they talk, what tone they use and their body language as well.

Practice, practice and practice: practice makes a man perfect.

Public speaking is an invaluable skill to learn. The most powerful speaker is those who knew how to use words effectively. If anyone wants to become an effective leader in their field and have the opportunity to inspire an audience, they will have to train themselves to become fluent and confident.


Cenere, P, Gill, R, Lawson, C & Lewis M 2015, Communication skills for business professionals, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Vic.

 Nicole B 2013, public speaking 7 Steps to Masterful Public Speaking From Martin Luther King views 10 May 2016, http://inkwellscholars.org/7-steps-to-masterful-public-speaking-from-martin-luther-king/