As indicated by the name, non-verbal communication is non-word communication. This means that communication that involves neither written nor spoken words but uses symbols other than word or language is known as non-verbal communication. A series of symbols such as facial expressions, hand gestures, pictures, and the like are designed to communicate a massage. This does not mean that verbal and non-verbal communication always takes place separately and independently. Rather, verbal and non-verbal communication is complementary to each other. Neither is really complete without the other. So, non-verbal communication may be used either alone or as a supplement to the use of verbal communication. Non-verbal communication uses several symbols, some of which are noted below:
- Visual Communication: When communication is done through a visual technique it is called visual communication. It is not verbal or word based communication, rather it consists of a variety of diagrams, graphs, photographs and gestures.
- Body language or Kinesics: Gestures and postures used for communicating a massage are called body language. Massages can be transmitted with the help of different movements of the body. For example, positive attitudes toward another person are shown by frequent gesticulation (hand movements). In contrast, dislike or disinterest generally produces few gestures.
- Proxemics or Spatial Relations: Placement of one’s body in spatial relations with someone else’s body can be used to convey a massage. Take for example, putting your arm on the body of someone else or touching another person is generally interpreted as a sign of acceptance or favor.
- Clothing, Dress and Appearance: External appearance also plays a role in communicating message to others. Your cloths and dresses provide visual signal to your interest, age, personality, attitude, social standing, religious affiliation and the like. Appearance (beauty) also indicates some messages. Beautiful appearance provides visual clues to your personality, taste, and honesty.
- Use of time or Chronemics: Use of time can also be manipulated to emit non-verbal message. Ordinarily, being late in some job is perceived as the symbol of callousness, carelessness, etc. Again the same amount of lateness for a high official might be interpreted as a symbol of power or being too busy.
- Communication through Action: Action acts as the best means of communication. A communicatorcanbe better conveying his messages through doing a job.
- Others: Besides the above mentioned media for visual communication, printed pictures, posters, slides, film strips, traffic light, executive light, etc. are also used for conveying messages to others and all these are commonly used techniques for visual communication.
Audible (Audio) Communication:
When message are transmitted through sound only, it is called audio communication. Varieties of sounds are used for communicating a message. Usual techniques for audio communication are:
- Paralanguage (the use of voice): Paralanguage literally means “like language” human by nature, attach more importance to the way something is said than to what is said. When somebody says something even positive to you, you probably listen to the amount of enthusiasm in his/her tone. Because of this human nature, paralanguage variations in voice tone which is closely tied to verbal expression, is sometimes used as an effective means of communication.
An anger is well reflected by a speaker when, he speaks loudly, at a fast rate, in a high pitch with irregular inflection and clipped enunciation. Boredom on the other hand is indicated by moderate volume, pitch and rate, and a monotone inflection.
- Siren: Siren is one of the important means of non-verbal communication. It conveys different meanings at different times. In the month of Ramadan, at the evening when it goes on ringing, the Muslims observing Ramadan fast are informed through this sound that it is the high time for “Iftar”.
- Calling Bell: In an office or a family house, a calling bell maintained nowadays for calling a peon or desired person. When a person desiring to call another person, presses the button of the calling bell, it makes sound. This sound indicates that the caller wants somebody.
- Ringing Bell: It is also another means of non-verbal communication. But it signifies different meanings to different section of people. In an educational institution the teachers and the students are informed of the end of a particular class hour through ringing a bell. On the other hand, a railway stationmaster through ringing the bell permits the standing train to leave the station.
Audio Visual Communication:
When communication is done through sight and sound, it is called audio visual communication. It combines both the audible and visual techniques for transmitting message. For example, hearing the whistling and seeing the flag or light of the guard. An audiovisual technique is considered to be the suitable for mass communication. The most important advantage of audio visual communication is that information transmitted through this means is easily understood and retained much longer than through any other media.
Sometimes message are communicated through remaining silence, when no words are used, no gestures, postures are made and yet the message gets across, then it is called silent communication. For example, when a teacher enters into the classroom, the students who have been talking earlier suddenly become silent. This silence shows respect to the teacher.