7 Types of Nonverbal Communication (Explained with Examples)

The nonverbal way is the most commonly used communication medium in the world in culture.

Sometimes we may not know the exact name of those but we use them basically almost every time.

Nonverbal behaviors enjoy close to zero formality, however depending on the situation.

Types of Nonverbal Communication are;

  1. Eye contact.
  2. Facial expressions.
  3. Gestures.
  4. Posture and body orientation.
  5. Proximity.
  6. Para-linguistic.
  7. Humor.

Importance of Nonverbal Communication

Eye contact

Eye contact, an important channel of interpersonal communication, helps regulate the flow of communication. And it signals interest in others.


Eye contact with audiences increases the speaker’s credibility. Teachers who make eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth, and credibility.

Facial expressions

Smiling is a powerful cue that transmits:

  • Happiness.
  • Friendliness.
  • Warmth.
  • Liking.
  • Affiliation.

Thus, if you smile frequently you will be perceived as more likable, friendly, warm and approachable.

Smiling is often contagious and students will react favorably and learn more.


If you fail to gesture while speaking, you may be perceived as boring, stiff and un-animated.

A lively and animated teaching style captures students attention, makes the material more interesting, facilitates learning and provides a bit of entertainment.

Head nods, a form of gestures, communicate positive reinforcement to students and indicate that you are listening.

Posture and body orientation

You communicate numerous messages by the way you walk, talk, stand and sit.

Standing erect, but not rigid, and leaning slightly forward communicates to students that you are approachable, receptive and friendly.


Interpersonal closeness results when you and your students face each other.

Speaking with your back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided; it communicates disinterest to your class.


Cultural norms dictate a comfortable distance for interaction with students.

You should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading students’ space. Some of these are:

  • Rocking
  • Leg swinging
  • Tapping
  • Gaze aversion

Typically, in large college classes space invasion is not a problem. In fact, there is usually too much distance.

To counteract this, move around the classroom to increase interaction with your students.

Increasing proximity enables you to make better eye contact and increases the opportunities for students to speak.


This facet of nonverbal communication includes such vocal elements as:

  • Tone
  • Pitch
  • Rhythm
  • Timbre
  • Loudness
  • Inflection

For maximum teaching effectiveness, learn to vary these six elements of your voice.

One of the major criticisms is of instructors who speak in a monotone. Listeners perceive these instructors as boring and dull.

Students report that they learn less and lose interest more quickly when listening to teachers who have not learned to modulate their voices.


Humor is often overlooked as a teaching tool, and it is too often not encouraged in college classrooms. Laughter releases stress and tension for both instructor and student.

You should develop the ability to laugh at yourself and encourage students to do the same. It fosters a friendly environment that facilitates learning.

Obviously, adequate knowledge of the subject matter is crucial to your success; however, it’s not the only crucial element.

Creating a climate that facilitates learning and retention demands good nonverbal and verbal skills.


To improve your nonverbal skills, record your speaking on videotape. Then ask a colleague in communications to suggest refinements.

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