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5: Nonverbal Elements of Communication

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    Learning Objectives

    In this chapter, we discuss what nonverbal communication is and its significance in interpersonal communication. After defining nonverbal communication, we describe the role of nonverbal communication and identify the wide range of types of nonverbal cues. Finally, we address how nonverbal communication may differ in various contexts.

    • 5.1: Introduction to Nonverbal Elements of Communication
      What personal experiences have you had when you did not understand what a person was “saying” with their gestures or facial expressions? Have you ever had someone get the wrong impression or message that you intended because they misread something you were doing nonverbally?
    • 5.2: Definitions
      Nonverbals [sic] is everything that communicates but is not a word. This beautiful theater, it's communicating to us. How you sit is communicating to us. The things that you attach to yourself - a purse, a pen, a fancy car - all these things are communicating. How you look at others communicates. And all day long, we are communicating nonverbally. All day long.
    • 5.3: The Roles of Nonverbal Communication in Interpersonal Communication
      Nonverbal communication is everywhere! It’s important for us to understand how nonverbal communication affects our behavior, perception, interpretations, and understanding. In this section we will take a look at some of the roles and functions of nonverbal communication in our daily lives.
    • 5.4: The Six Functions of Nonverbal Communication
      Research into nonverbal communication resulted in the discovery of multiple utilitarian functions of nonverbal communication. This section follows six functions of nonverbal communication.
    • 5.5: The Channels of Nonverbal Communication
      One reason that nonverbal communication is so rich with information is that humans use so many different aspects of behavior, appearance, and environment to convey meaning. These types of nonverbal communication can vary considerably across cultures. In this section we examine the several types of nonverbal communication.
    • 5.6: Summary and Review
    • 5.7: References
    • 5.8: Case Study

    Thumbnail: A group of retired men and friends, playing a game of cards in Sorrento by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

    This page titled 5: Nonverbal Elements of Communication is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Armeda Reitzel, Kim Yee, & Rebeca Moran (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .