Types of Body Movement Used in Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication consists of information exchange without the use of words, whether oral or written. This involves the use of silent communication channels such as signs, touch, behaviour, clothing, gestures and expressions of all kinds, and sounds such as clapping of hands, gun shots, and tone of voice to pass across message to the audience. Among non-verbal communication strategies is body movement which is a communication form that involves adjustment or manipulation of the body to pass across a message.

What is Body Movement in Non-Verbal Communication?

This consists of the adjustment, positioning, manipulation, twisting, or shifting parts or all of the body as nonverbal communication strategy. Body movement is also called Kinesics, a word first used by an Anthropologist, Bird Birdwhistell in 1952 which means a study and interpretation of body movements.

Types of Body Movement in Non-Verbal Communication?

Body movement is used in nonverbal communication in various ways which are isolated into five categories/types:

Emblems

common signs used in expressing meanings such as the OK sign, thumbs up, pointing at the eyes as a way of telling somebody to watch meticulously, clearly or closely, holding the ears to ask people to listen attentively, putting a finger on the lips to communicate need for silence, etc.;

Illustrators

These are signs or demonstrations used to enhance, emphasize or clarify what somebody is talking about. Examples are placing the hand at a particular level to show the height of what or who is being talked about, and punching the fists in the air to demonstrate the fierceness of a fight;

Regulators

These are signs used to regulate verbal communication and they include gazes, winks, nods, shaking of the head, and raised eye brows;

Affect displays

This consists of expressions which reveal a person’s emotional state. These expressions include angry stares, trembling body, or shivering;

Body Manipulators

These are actions which consist of using a part of the body to control another part of the body or the entire body. Such actions include tugging or stroking the ear, twisting the hair, or habitually touching a particular pat of the body while talking.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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