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

nonverbal 2
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.’

non verbal
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


Image Reference






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s