Non verbal communication is a part of everyday life. How we say things, in conjunction with our body language, can make a huge difference in our interpersonal relationships since these unspoken expressions of our innermost thoughts and emotions can tell others what we are thinking, irrespective of what we might be saying. But in order to fully understand the importance of body language, it is helpful to look at some examples of non verbal communication to see how it works.
Common examples of non verbal communication in everyday life
Facial expressions are one example of how non verbal communication can increase or decrease the power of spoken language. For example, if you say something rather offensive in conversation, the potentially hurtful nature of your words will be considerably undermined if you smiled as you said it—this would indicate that you were in fact joking rather than insulting the other person.
Using gestures to accompany speech is another example of how non verbal communication can be very useful in everyday life. Take for example how difficult it can be to communicate with someone who speaks a different language. If you want to help them find the way to the nearest bank, you would probably have to show them using hand gestures—without this essential form of non verbal communication, your verbal directions would be next to useless.
Non verbal communication examples include babies and small children for whom language has not yet developed, plus anyone else who is unable to communicate verbally. In this instance, other forms of communication take precedence and communication is made via a variety if different methods: babies will root for the breast or bottle when they are hungry and children might point to what they want if they do not know the appropriate word.
Examples of non verbal communication in the workplace
The human brain is wired up to detect non verbal clues as well as verbal ones. In prehistoric times, this would have protected us from potential danger: being able to spot signs of aggression in other people or animals might have enabled us to escape before things got ugly.
In the modern workplace, things have not changed much and it is very useful to be able to read non verbal clues given out by our colleagues, bosses and customers. For example, you can probably tell if your colleague is being insincere when they are congratulating you on your promotion, which lets you know that you should watch your back in future.
But as well as spotting non verbal clues in others around you, you must be aware of your own body language in the workplace at all times. Common examples of negative non verbal communication include nervousness, aggression, and arrogant behaviour. Positive non verbal communication in the workplace is especially important if you work in a customer service environment as there is little point in offering a heartfelt apology to an irate customer if your body language indicates that you are lying through your teeth!