Examples of Non Verbal Communication

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I have provided several examples of non verbal communication; however, keep in mind that there are always possible variances to all of them. So don't take them as absolutes, but more as a general rule to help you understand what is being communicated.

Examples of Non Verbal Communication: Blinking


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As a general rule most of us must blink several times a minute to keep our eyeballs moist.

If you notice that someone's blinking has increased it normally means they are under stress. This could mean they are not being truthful. It could mean they are having a tough time with a question or situation. Or maybe they are very anxious.

On the other hand if someone is deep in thought, such as staring off into the distance, their blinking may actually slow down. Boredom will slow down someone's blinking as well.

So be conscious of what the normal rate may be and then watch for changes.

Examples of Non Verbal Communication: Widened Eyes

If you see someone's eyes widening you may be in trouble since it generally indicates rage. This will occur while the mouth becomes tighter and the eyebrows come down together and maybe a little wrinkle across the bridge of their nose.

If you are in the middle of presenting some bad news to someone, such as a termination, and you see this you may want to take a break and/or exit the room quickly.

On the other hand widened eyes without the mouth becoming tighter and the eyebrows going down and together could mean surprise or fear. The facial expression will match this with the mouth even possibly opening slightly.

Examples of Non Verbal Communication: Leaning Backward when Sitting

When you lean backward while sitting it may be sending a signal that you are not interested or that you feel you are superior. This is especially true if you put your hands behind your head.

Some may even feel you are being cocky or arrogant.

Even though it may be perceived in the above way it could only mean that you are relaxed around this person. If you have known someone for a long time this may be ok, but never around someone new.

On the other hand if you get into someone's personal space they may be leaning backward just to gain some space between you.

Be careful as a leader how your posture reflects itself on what others are thinking.


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Examples of Non Verbal Communication: Leaning Forward

Leaning forward sends the opposite signal to the person. You are showing interest in what they are saying.

By doing this you are letting them know that they are important to you and what they have to say matters.

Be careful though not to get into their personal space, generally around two to three feet. This will vary depending on your relationship.

Examples of Non Verbal Communication - Crossed Arms

Although we do this almost automatically it sends a very defensive signal to who ever you are talking with.

Now keep in mind it could simply mean that the person is cold. In some cases women may do this because it makes them feel comfortable. In fact if you see several women standing together all crossing their arms it can be seen as a form of bonding.

In a business setting if you see someone crossing their arms it most likely means you have some convincing to do with that person.

If you find yourself wanting to cross your arms while speaking with one of your employees, stop yourself.

Examples of Non Verbal Communication: Palms Up

This sends a signal that you are open minded to what is being presented. Some may interrupt it as being vulnerable.

If you are meeting with someone it is a good signal that you are being listened to

If their palms are up in some way.

Also, this is could be a signal that someone is flirting with you if their palms are up along with some other signs such as extended eye contact ,then down and back up again.

Examples of Non Verbal Communication - The Fig Leaf

This is when someone is placing one hand over the other in front of their lower body.

This is a sign of vulnerability or the person is feeling insecure. Many times you will see a person that is not comfortable with getting up in front of others standing like this.

You will also see this often at a funeral or when a person is in the lime light in some way.

If you have someone standing in your office in this stance it means they are feeling insecure and possibly very nervous.

This sends a signal of superiority and trust.

The person is so comfortable about their situation or position that they saying I can leave myself unprotected.

It is a sign of confidence.

Good Luck and May God Bless You!

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