12 Types of Nonverbal Communication Definition and Examples

Types of Nonverbal Communication: The 12 Types of Non-verbal Communication are Physical Appearance, Paralinguistics, Body Movement, Gestures, Posture, Facial Expression, Eye Contact, Proxemics, Haptics, Chronemics, Artifacts, and Environment.

Nonverbal Communication Definition

Nonverbal communication means transmitting messages through nonverbal elements, such as physical appearance, eye contact, facial expression, body movement, gesture, and posture. Therefore, it is also known as a non-verbal cue. The four types of communication contexts are verbal, nonverbal, visual, and written.

Nonverbal communication generates and transmits messages without spoken words. On the other hand, verbal communication means conveying a message through written and spoken words. The combination of both verbal and nonverbal cues generates effective interaction between the sender and receiver. Effective communication relies on using both verbal and nonverbal communication cues. 

Using verbal and nonverbal cues during interaction can make communication more effective and efficient. There are several types of noise in communication: physical, physiological, psychological, and environmental. The combination of verbal and nonverbal communication reduces the noise of communication and makes the interaction more effective. The researchers have mentioned nonverbal communication cues as the components of the communication process.

Example of Nonverbal Communication

For example, Rose types on a laptop while interacting with her senior Boss. Simultaneously, the Boss asks her when she wants to submit the company's new business report. Rose raises two-finger focusing his eyes on the laptop. The Boss leaves the place saying all right. Rose intends to complete the business report at 2 PM, and the Boss completely understands the message. Raising two-finger is a nonverbal communication example that conveys the message in this context.

Similarly, the Boss shows a thumbs-up gesture when Rose says she has emailed the report before 2 PM. Here, thumbs-up conveys a good job message from Boss to Rose. There are thousands of nonverbal communication examples: eye contact, gesture, posture, silence, angry face, anxious mood, smiles, talking fast, and many more.

Types of Nonverbal Communication

The 12 Types of Nonverbal Communication are:

1. Physical Appearance
2. Paralinguistics (Vocalics)
3. Body Movement
4. Gestures
5. Posture
6. Facial Expression
7. Eye Contact
8. Proxemics (Space)
9. Haptics (Touch)
10. Chronemics (Time)
11. Artifacts
12. Environment (Context)

Many scholars term the types as components and examples of nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal Communication Types

Types of Nonverbal Communication
Different Types of Nonverbal Communication
1. Physical Appearance Nonverbal Communication

Physical appearance is one of the significant types of nonverbal communication that convey a strong message about who you are. A proverb says that "The first impression is the best information." People assume others' education, success, moral character, social position, and trustworthiness by physical appearance.

According to a statistical report, people take less than ten seconds of the first meeting to determine other people. Clothes are significant elements in conveying messages to other group members. Casual attires are more acceptable in informal meetings because of the belief in trustworthiness. On the other hand, a professional appearance is well-accepted in business meetings and formal group presentations. However, research shows that good-looking people make more money and get promoted more often than average looks.

Physical Appearance Examples

For example, two people are walking on the road wearing different dresses. First-person wears a formal dress, and the second person wears a jersey and shorts. Most people will be able to guess their profession with the dress. Usually, employees follow official dress, including shoes and hairstyle.

On the other hand, football players wear jerseys, shorts, boots, and socks. The dress conveys a message about their profession without spoken words. So, physical appearance is a significant type of nonverbal communication that transmits a strong message regarding the communicator.

2. Paralinguistics Nonverbal Communication

Paralinguistics refers to the meta-communication elements of nonverbal communication that modify the message's meaning. It is also known as vocalics, paralanguage, or voice in nonverbal communication. Paralinguistics explains how we use our voices while speaking to someone.

In addition to physical appearance, paralinguistics is another crucial type of nonverbal communication that significantly changes the meaning of the speaker's speech. Examples of paralinguistics are inflection, tone, pitch, filler words, indicators, volume, rate, and articulation. People have more than 630 muscles but use around 72 different muscles conjointly to deliver a speech. The tongue is the most significant and robust muscle among them. People use this tongue to generate these paralinguistic elements during nonverbal communication.

Paralinguistics Nonverbal Communication Examples
Paralinguistics Nonverbal Communication Example
Paralinguistics Nonverbal Communication

3. Body Movement Nonverbal Communication

Body movement refers to the communication process through the head, hand, and hand movement, known as nonverbal communication using body angles. The body angles between two people express the relationship between them. People tend to lean on the speaker when interested in the discussion topic. On the other hand, people tend to orientate away from the speaker when they do not like the discussion topic. The same things happen when the audience likes and dislikes the speaker personally.  People use their bodies mostly in interaction; therefore, it is a crucial type of nonverbal communication.

Body Movement Nonverbal Communication Examples

For example, males tend to lean towards females in confined conditions, and females face away.

Body movement is also part of body language or Kinesics nonverbal communication. Kinesics' nonverbal communication includes body movement, facial expression, gesture, and posture. According to the statistic report, people use 7% of words, 38% voice, and 55% body language in communication.

Elements of Kinesics in Nonverbal Communication

Kinesics is the symbolic meaning of body movements. Ekman and Friesen (1969) developed five types of components of Kinesics, also known as body movements.

Five Types of Kinesics in Communication

The five types of Kinesics Communication are Emblems, Illustrators, Affect Displays, Regulators, and Adaptors.

1. Emblems

Emblems are body movements that can carry information without using verbal communication. For example, Thumb up means OK, waving a hand means goodbye, and Logo represents something.

2. Illustrator

Illustrators are body movements that transmit a complete message with or without verbal communication. Communicators link illustrators with oral action to make the interaction more effective. For example, a person is showing directions on how to reach Bank and explaining verbally.

3. Affect Display

Affect displays are body movements that relate to your emotions. For example, a slumping body, a relaxed body, and a confident body.

4. Regulators

Regulators are body movements that emphasize further action. It also determines turn-taking in conversations—for example, control communication, a nod of the head.

5. Adaptors

Adaptors are body movements to adapt to a situation and the current environment. For example, it reveals nervousness, fixing clothes, nose scratches, stress, and anxiety.

4. Gestures Nonverbal Communication

Gestures are a form of nonverbal communication that includes waving hands, nodding heads, and pointing fingers. The gesture makes communication more lively and effective. The speakers may be perceived as boring, stiff, and unanimated if they cannot show gestures while speaking. Head nods and raking fingers inside through hairs are the form of gesture.

Gestures Nonverbal Communication Examples

For example, the Deaf community develops and uses various sign languages worldwide.

5. Posture Nonverbal Communication

Posture is one of the crucial types of nonverbal communication that is related to body position. It represents numerous messages through the way people walk, talk, stand and sit. Posture denotes the body position in nonverbal communication.

Posture Nonverbal Communication Examples

For example, standing erect but not rigid and leaning slightly forward communicates to your audience that you are approachable, receptive, and friendly. Additionally, speaking with your back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided; it communicates disinterest to your audience.

6. Facial Expression Nonverbal Communication

Facial expression is one of the most common nonverbal communication influencing interaction. It plays a crucial role in regulating the interaction and conveying the message. Facial expression includes the mouth, eyebrows, and facial muscles. Facial expressions demonstrate approval or disapproval of the topic being discussed. The audience's facial expression shows whether the speech is exciting or not. The five universal facial expressions are Happiness, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Surprise.

People have over 30 muscles on the face to help smile or frown; for example, 17 muscles to smile and 43 muscles to frown.

Facial Expression Nonverbal Communication Examples

For example, people open their mouths and extend their eyebrows when surprised.

7. Eye Contact Nonverbal Communication

Eye Contact is a significant type of nonverbal communication that regulates and controls communication. It is also known as oculesics, meaning the study of eye behavior. Eye muscles are the busiest muscles in the body. Scientists estimate that the eyes move more than 100,000 times a day.

Eye Contact Nonverbal Communication Examples
Eye Contact Nonverbal Communication
Eye Contact Nonverbal Communication

8. Haptics in Nonverbal Communication

Haptic communication occurs when people interact with the sense of touch. It plays a significant role in the communication process. It refers to the touch that conveys the crucial message. Therefore, haptics is another type and example of nonverbal communication that represents information involving touch.

Haptics Nonverbal Communication Examples

The most noteworthy examples of haptic are holding hands, hugging, tickling, also kissing.

9.  Proxemics in Nonverbal Communication

Proxemics refers to the interpersonal space during communication that affects the interaction. It is a familiar type of nonverbal communication that represents the seating arrangements. Proxemics are very significant factors in the workplace. It also plays an influential role in describing your position and attitude.

For example, dominant group members position more centrally in the group's space. However, task- and socially-oriented leaders maintain space ratio or territoriality during the exhibit group meeting.

Proxemics Nonverbal Communication Examples
Interpersonal Spaces

In 1969, Hall introduced the Four Types of Interpersonal Spaces Intimate, Personal, Social, and Public Distance.

1. Intimate distance ( 0-18 inches (45.72 cm): For example, close friends, some family members, and lovers maintain close distance; therefore, it is also a private zone.

2. Personal distance (18 in. – 4 ft (1.22 m), an arm's length away): For example, friends and acquaintances follow personal maintain this distance when interacting with each other.

3. Social distance ( 4 – 8 ft (2.44 m): For example, strangers maintain social distance as they do not have intimate relationships.

4. Public distance ( >8 ft (2.44 m): A speaker presents to a larger audience.

10. Chronemics in Nonverbal Communication

Chronemics refers to the role of time during nonverbal interaction. It is not spoken speech; instead represents the gap between communication. Therefore, it is another example of nonverbal communication that denotes how much time to talk and elapses when interacting with others. For example, how many members speak and how much time they let elapse before responding to other group members.

In 1976, Edward T. Hall introduced the monochronic versus polychronic times to distinguish one culture from another. Monochronic shows the representative who is punctual and active. On the other hand, polychronic represents lazy people.

Chronemics Nonverbal Communication Examples

For example, in most countries, bosses come to the meeting after employees. The employees think that they must present at the meeting before the Boss arrives. The employees are active and join the discussion early. In contrast, the person will be termed as lazy if they enter the meeting late. Bosses can defer or cancel the appointment.

The lower-status person is willing to wait for the higher-status person. The higher-status person talks more than the lower-status person, and they dominate communication. Lower-status people are reluctant to interrupt communication.

11. Artifacts Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal artifacts in communication refer to the physical objects of the person, including the brand of clothes and shoes, mobile phones, laptops, car brands, tattoos, piercings, and jewelry. It is also known as the belongings owned by the communicator. However, artifacts assist the audiences strongly in forming a perception of the speakers. The audience can identify the speaker's personality through artifacts.

Artefacts nonverbal communication examples

For example, a person uses a BMW car, representing that the person is wealthy. Similarly, if the person uses a good brand of clothes and diamond jewelry, these artifacts also notify that the person is wealthy. Likewise, sportspeople and singers use tattoos more than ordinary people. Tattoos denounce the social groups they are in. People with expensive jewelry represent their personality and socio-economic conditions.

In 2024, people think that rich people use the latest smartphones like the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, and Google Pixel 8 Pro. In a business context, smartphones are influential artifacts that help to shape perceptions about the person who belongs to them.

12. Environment Nonverbal Communication

The environment of nonverbal communication refers to the surrounding context of communication. The context in communication denotes the environment of the discussion.

It mentions the physical environment of the discussion. Aneurin Bevan, a British political leader, recognized that the color of the conference room affected the political campaigns. He noticed that party conferences get more successful if they are organized in a bright color room instead of a depressing room. The environment conveys the message to motivate others.

Environment Nonverbal Communication Examples

The customers build negative concepts about the company and products. For example, potential clients would not be interested in buying the products if the management set a meeting in a dirty room. In contrast, the customers feel interested in buying the products when the meeting is held in the office room. The environment conveys both positive and negative messages based on the situation.


The twelve types of nonverbal communication are Physical Appearance, Paralinguistics, Body Movement, Gestures, Posture, Facial Expression, Eye Contact, Proxemics, Haptics, Chronemics, Artifacts, and also Environment. However, there are many more types of nonverbal communication in the world, such as Silence and Olfactics.

Citation For This Article(APA-7th & MLA-9th Edition)
APA Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2024). Nonverbal Communication: 12 Types of Nonverbal Communication Examples. Newsmoor- Best Online Learning Platform. https://newsmoor.com/nonverbal-communication-types-12-types-of-nonverbal-communication-example/