Examples of the Bodily Signs to Note in Nonverbal Communication

Examples of Nonverbal Communication
More than half of our interactions with each other are nonverbal. While overlooked by many, this type of communication impacts our relationships greatly. The following article provides examples of the various types of nonverbal communication.
You may have tried every trick in the book, but somehow you are not able to maintain strong relationships, either personal or professional. Where are you going wrong? This is probably because your body language does not complement your speech. This is a common problem faced by many. You may speak with a lot of conviction, but your eyes or posture may speak otherwise. This is what we call nonverbal communication, and it is a set of hand eye movements, expressions, postures, and gestures.

An Overview of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication, also known as body language, is an inevitable part of our personality. When we speak, we also give out several nonverbal signals that sometimes work to intensify what is already being said, or sometimes contradicts what we are saying. Nonverbal communication can be a give-away simply because it is hard to control this kind of communication. In several cases, you may communicate simply by means of nonverbal communication. As it is said "eyes speak more than words", is an example of nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal communication primarily comprises gestures, posture, touch, space, and facial expressions. As aforementioned, these may either complement or contradict what we say. Body language leaves a huge impact on relationships, both personal or professional. Many of these nonverbal signs are so sublte that we are not even aware of them.


There are several types of nonverbal communication that may be evaluated on the basis of certain examples.

Facial Expressions
When reading facial expressions, some of these examples may help:
  • Maintaining eye contact is a sign of confidence and positivity, and avoiding eye contact is clearly indicative of negative or unfriendly body language. The latter implies that the person may be lying, or fears confrontation.
  • The smile is another give-away when it comes to facial expressions. While a soft smile is a soft expression that is encouraging, a rigid smile or a smirk may be a sign of contempt.
  • Raised eyebrows are not only a sign of surprise, they can also suggest mockery or sarcasm. However, it may be a natural physical trait of some people, and they may do it without realizing. Therefore, it is important to know the kind of effect it has on others, before judging the facial expression.
  • Frowning is another facial expression that we tend to assume when under stress. This gives out the message that we are unapproachable and cold.
Posture and other Movements
Postures are included in nonverbal communication and may be explained with a few of these examples:
  • Standing erect shows confidence, but if you are slouching, it is a sign of low self-esteem. The latter also gives a vibe that you have given up.
  • Keeping the shoulders rigid again gives a sign that you may be unapproachable. Now, this affects the kind of people you attract towards you.
  • Constant fiddling with everything in sight is a sign of anxiety, frustration, boredom, and lack of interest.
  • Standing with your hands crossed behind you, combined with your facial expressions may be a clear sign of anger or frustration that you are trying to hold back.
Gestures animate the conversations we have with others. We point, we wave, and use all sorts of gestures while we are talking.
  • For instance, you may be constantly rubbing your neck, or the back of your ear, which is a sign of discomfort and lack of confidence.
  • If you are angry, you may be clenching your fists to control your anger, or in preparation for a physical attack.
  • Rubbing hands together indicates excitement and readiness to engage in an activity.
  • Shrugging may show a lack of interest.
Even touch plays an important role in nonverbal communication. For instance:
  • When your boss is praising you, and pats you on the back, it is a sign of genuine liking for you and your work.
  • A firm handshake is the sign of confidence.
  • We all know the reassuring effect of a warm hug.
  • Someone who holds your arms while talking is either trying to make a statement, or to portray that he/she is in control.
We all have a physical space around us. Sometimes we find people invading that personal space, which may portray any of the following:
  • Intimacy
  • Affection
  • Dominance
  • Aggression
This does not mean that someone maintaining a decent physical distance is trying to keep away from you. It only means that the person knows his/her place and respects your personal space, provided you don't share a very close relationship.

Understanding body language may take a while. To pick up nonverbal cues requires you to watch out for them intently, and also learn how to complement the right cues with the spoken word, so that you don't give out the wrong message. Once you are able to do that, you will definitely minimize the chances of misconceptions and misunderstandings about others, and yourself.
boss giving subordinate a pat on the shoulder
Shrugging Young Woman
Scheming Woman Rubs Hands Together
tired accountant rubbing sore neck in the office
Angry Woman
Confident business executive
Three surprised women
Enthusiastic about life