Features of nonverbal means of communication: postures, gestures, facial expressions

Nonverbal is “body language” in a broad sense: the transmission of information through gestures, smells, taste, voice, visual signals. Nonverbal means of communication contribute to the creation of psychological contact between partners, enrich the meanings conveyed by words, and reflect the interpretation of the situation. Factors influencing the non-verbal side of communication are national characteristics, health status, professional etiquette, social status, and membership in certain age groups.

Means of nonverbal communication

Differences in the meanings of gestures in different cultures

Basic nonverbal gestures do not differ from each other in different cultures.
Nodding your head means yes or no. This is an innate gesture, as it is used with equal meaning by deaf and blind people. Shrugging is a universal gesture that indicates a lack of understanding of the conversation. However, there are gestures whose meaning varies depending on the specific culture, country, nation, so the differences in the non-verbal language of other countries should be known. Culture-specific gestures:

  • "OK" gesture. The gesture, which gained popularity in America at the beginning of the 19th century, means “everything is fine”, “good” in all English-speaking countries, as well as in Europe and Asia. In France, this gesture is interpreted as “zero”, “nothing”, in Japan - “money”, in some countries of the Mediterranean basin this gesture is used to indicate a man’s homosexuality.
  • "Thumbs up" gesture. In English-speaking countries, this gesture is used when trying to catch a passing car, and also to mean “excellent.” In Greece, this gesture asks a person to stop talking, and it carries a negative connotation.
  • The "V - shaped finger sign" gesture with the hand turned back to the speaker is common in the UK and Australia to indicate a successful win, a solution to a problem, but for this designation. If during this gesture the hand is turned with the palm facing the speaker, then its meaning is “shut up.”
  • Gesture "Goat". Used by representatives of musical subcultures as a sign of approval for the performer. In Italy the sign is considered an offensive innuendo and is used to mean "cuckold". In the American version of the deaf-mute language, a “goat” with its thumb pointed out to the side means “I love you.”

Main types of nonverbal communication.

Knowing the types of nonverbal communication, you can better understand the ways of their expression, since communication of this type is carried out by all senses, from which the communication channel is actually formed. Let's consider the main types of nonverbal communication:

  • Kinesics - this element represents a set of body movements, gestures and postures used to complement expressive means of communication. The main elements of kinesics are facial expressions, postures, gestures and views that have a physiological or sociocultural origin. The gestures used must be understood unambiguously, since if the gestures are interpreted incorrectly, unpleasant circumstances may arise;
  • Tactile behavior - it has been found that when communicating, all people use various types of touch to those interlocutors who are in close proximity. Different types of touch are of a different nature and have different, different effectiveness and significance. Tactile behavior can be divided into the following types: professional, ritual, friendly and loving. Each type of touch is necessary for a person to weaken or strengthen the process of communication. However, there are a number of factors that are certainly worth considering, since different cultures have different labels for non-verbal elements;
  • Sensory is one of the types of non-verbal communication, which is based on sensory perception in all cultures. The attitude towards a partner is based on the sensation of the senses: smells, taste, perception of sound and color combinations, sensation of the interlocutor’s body and the warmth emanating from him. Thanks to all this, non-verbal communication with this partner will be established;
  • Proxemics is a type of nonverbal communication based on the use of spatial relationships. This type of communication implies the direct influence of distances and territories on the manifestation of interpersonal relationships between people. As a result of some studies, four zones of nonverbal communication of a spatial type were identified: intimate, personal, social and public;
  • Chronemics – this type involves the use of time in non-verbal communication;
  • Paraverbal communication - the meaning of communication depends on the manifestation of the level of rhythm, intonation and timbre of the voice, which are used to directly convey the statement.

Rapport and rapport building

What is rapport?

Rapport in psychology and NLP is a special state between people when connection, mutual understanding, and trust are felt at the internal level; specific contact and the state itself when people are in this contact.

Simply put, rapport is identity with another person, similarity to him. Establishing rapport can be done by adjusting to categories according to Satir, joining, mirroring, as well as perception from the second position.

Establishing rapport

Establishing rapport is a fundamental goal in NLP. It can happen over a long period of time or very quickly. The duration of the process itself often depends on the level of the communicator. And rapport can be achieved on two levels: conscious and unconscious. The main ways to establish rapport are: mirroring a person on a non-verbal level, as well as adjusting to basic representative systems. Nonverbal adjustment is based on reflecting the same rate of breathing, eye movements, gestures, posture, etc. Verbal takes as a basis the characteristic features of a person’s verbal behavior.

The sensory acuity of the communicator is also very important in establishing rapport, i.e. his ability to most effectively notice and track the nonverbal manifestations of another person, the external features of his behavior. People always send various signals that reflect their internal processes, and the development of sensory acuity makes it possible to “read” them, as well as determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of attunement with another person and the presence or absence of rapport with him.

The development of sensory acuity is a serious process, but very interesting. And its constant training will allow you to learn to track such features of people’s communication that were not previously noticed. And in order for this to become possible, you need to follow several effective recommendations:

  • During communication, try to “break down” this process itself into separate components and track them.
  • Monitor each person's nonverbal characteristics and reactions.
  • Observe people carefully and listen to what they say.
  • Watch strangers: at work, in public places, in movies and TV shows.
  • Pay attention to the “little things”: breathing, rate of speech, complexion, shape of lips, tone and timbre of voice.

By improving your sensory acuity skills, you will also improve your rapport-building skills, and you will also become more deeply aware of other people and their behavior, learn to predict future interactions, recognize lies and truth, and learn to convey your own messages in a way that evokes only the reactions you need.

And the last question that we will examine in this lesson is the Milton Erickson model or, more simply, the Milton model. But, given that this topic is very voluminous and requires in-depth study, the following section of the article would be more correctly described as an introduction to the Milton model.

Eye contact

The “language of gaze” is very diverse. Thus, completely open eyes characterize high receptivity of feelings and reason, general liveliness. Eyes that are too wide open/"bulging"/ indicate an increase in optical attachment to the surrounding world. Closed, “curtained” eyes are often a sign of inertia, indifference, arrogance, boredom or severe fatigue

A narrowed or squinted gaze means either concentrated close attention /observation/, or /in combination with a side glance/ cunning, cunning. A direct gaze, with the face fully turned towards the partner, demonstrates interest, trust, openness, readiness for direct interaction

A sideways glance, from the corners of the eyes, indicates a lack of full dedication, skepticism, and mistrust. A look from below (with a bowed head) indicates either an aggressive readiness for action, or (with a bent back) subordination, humility, and helpfulness. Looking from top to bottom / with the head thrown back / reveals a feeling of superiority, arrogance, contempt, and the search for dominance. An evasive gaze indicates uncertainty, modesty or timidity, and possibly a feeling of guilt.

The corners of the mouth drawn down symbolize a generally negative attitude towards life, a general sad expression on the face. Raised corners of the mouth reflect a positive attitude towards life, a lively and cheerful expression. If the mouth appears plump, it indicates increased vitality of the senses; soft - for sensitivity; sharp, precisely carved - for intelligence; firm - for certainty of will.

Interpersonal space

Another important technique of nonverbal communication is maintaining interpersonal distance (space). In fact, the “limits of what is permitted” may differ depending on the place of residence, type of activity, and individual preferences of a person. However, there are some standard parameters to follow when making contacts:

  • Intimate distance (up to 50 cm) is acceptable between close friends or relatives. Also, such an interpersonal distance is acceptable in sports that involve the contact of the bodies of opponents or partners.
  • Interpersonal distance (50-120 cm) is acceptable for informal communication. In this case, tactile contact may or may not occur.
  • Social distance (120-370 cm) is typical for social and business relationships. Tactile contacts are unacceptable in this case.
  • Public distance (more than 370 cm) implies a formal exchange of politeness or abstinence from communication.

Means of nonverbal communication

The main means of such communication is the body, which is capable of transmitting information through facial expressions, gestures, pantomime, changing position in space and the mise-en-scène of communication.

Due to the diversity and richness of facial capabilities, our body is capable of transmitting a huge number of images, becoming a powerful tool for conveying the necessary information to people around us.

It’s very easy to check this: just try to watch a movie in a foreign language that you don’t speak, and you will be surprised to note that you understand, if not the very essence of the characters’ conversations, then the message, the emotions that they put into the conversation, and even main idea and plot.

This is due to the fact that, in conditions of semantic deficit arising from ignorance of the language, we subconsciously monitor facial expressions, micro-gestures more closely than usual, and read the plot and emotional components from the movements and tone of voice of the characters.

Basic characteristics of nonverbal signals

Various parts of the body are used as tools to use and read such signals, but posture, gait, and plasticity are also important.

The nonverbal behavior of an open, self-confident subject is characterized by the following features:

  • straight back, shoulders turned, good posture, free gait;
  • raised head, confident look directly at the interlocutor;
  • “open” gestures - relaxed arms, not closed on the chest or in a “lock”, legs not crossed;
  • absence of fussy small gestures, attempts to cover your mouth or nose with your palm.

Nonverbal means of communication that demonstrate that a person is trying to hide something:

  • drooping chin, tense shoulders, slight hunching;
  • a gaze constantly moving from the interlocutor’s face to the floor or running over objects behind his back;
  • “closed” gestures - arms crossed on the chest, a “leg to leg” pose, involuntary touching of the nose and lips with fingers, hands “housed” at chin level.

Such signs of nonverbal communication allow you to assess the degree of frankness of the interlocutor, help you take a sober approach to what he says, and decide whether to trust the person.

Nonverbal communication of children: how does it differ from nonverbal communication of adults?

Nonverbal communication of children
From the first days of life, the child tries to understand the emotions and mood of the mother. He perceives this without being able to speak or think. The child listens to the mother’s voice, its intonation, timbre, and looks closely at the facial expression and gestures. The development of nonverbal communication shapes the psyche of children, teaches self-control, allows them to understand body language and establish contact with the interlocutor.

The task of parents and teachers is to teach children such means. To do this you need:-

  • Develop facial and body muscles
  • Get to know emotions that are expressed through gestures, facial expressions, postures
  • Express emotions in games
  • Use nonverbal means in communication

Among children and adolescents, the use of nonverbal means of communication is manifested in sign language. It is a non-verbal phenomenon that develops in children depending on the surrounding social environment. Communication between children is special and differs from the nonverbal communication of adults. Often, children's nonverbal communication is a protest to adults. Unlike an adult, a child understands nonverbal signs, but cannot explain them or name them. By learning to express their emotions and feelings, children will become more sociable and attentive.

If you want to read the thoughts of your interlocutor and understand what he really means when he says certain things, then learn to interpret nonverbal communication. In fact, body language is easy to interpret. You just need to be careful and know some of the features that were described in this article. Good luck!

Features of public speech.

Public speaking is an oral form of speech. And the more it has all the characteristics of a live conversation, the stronger its impact on listeners. At the same time, this is a prepared speech, the basis for it, as a rule, is a written text. A public speech is pronounced with the aim of informing listeners and exerting the desired impact on them (persuasion, suggestion, inspiration, call to action, etc.).

Public speech is a monologue in form, but in essence it is a dialogue. In a dialogue, the interlocutor’s reaction is expressed very definitely, but during a public speech one must guess about it from the behavior of the listeners, their gestures, remarks, and the expression of their eyes. This must be done simultaneously with the speech. And here another difficulty comes into play - linguistic, or linguistic. The need to “cover broader thematic content” complicates the syntax of a monologue compared to a dialogue: sentences become structurally more complex; connecting them into a coherent piece of text is multi-stage; In order to maintain the structural and stylistic unity of the text as a whole, the speaker is forced to pay attention to both the end and the beginning of the utterance.

Another distinctive feature is the lively intonation of spoken language, i.e. the opportunity in an oral monologue to express one’s attitude to what is being said not only in words, but also in the timbre-tone coloring of the voice, a system of logical stresses and pauses, facial expressions, and gestures.

A journalistic text is often constructed as a scientific argument: an important social problem is put forward, possible ways to solve it are analyzed and assessed, generalizations and conclusions are made, the material is arranged in a strict logical sequence, and general scientific terminology is used. Publicistic speeches are distinguished by reliability, accuracy of facts, specificity, and strict validity, which brings it closer to the scientific.

The journalistic style also has much in common with the artistic style of speech. He is characterized by passion and appeal. In order to effectively influence the reader or listener, his imagination and feelings, the speaker or writer uses epithets, comparisons, metaphors and other figurative means, resorts to colloquial and even colloquial words and expressions, phraseological expressions that enhance the emotional impact of speech.

The most important requirement for journalism is accessibility

: It is intended for a wide audience and should be understandable to everyone.

Introduction to the Milton Model

Milton Erickson is a famous American psychiatrist and psychotherapist of the mid-20th century. He became the founder of a unique approach to hypnotherapy, which today is called Ericksonian hypnotherapy, and is widespread throughout the world. His model assumes that the speech and behavior of one person can influence others, putting them into a special hypnotic state called trance (see below). But before moving directly to trance, we need to talk about the unconscious mind of a person.

Unconscious Mind

The term “unconscious” itself is used in NLP to refer to processes that are not currently in consciousness. Those. the unconscious is not an object, but a process, because contains all processes that occur outside consciousness. The unconscious mind is associated with the body's basic functions and thought processes. And the conscious mind, in turn, reflects everything that is happening inside.

Even thinking itself occurs consciously in rare cases, because... The thoughts that appear in our conscious mind are the result of unconscious thinking. And we are aware of only a small part of what is in the unconscious mind. And, as a rule, this is only what has the greatest value compared to the rest. The unconscious mind contains all of a person's thoughts, fears, concerns, dreams, expectations and hopes. All his life experience, skills and memories are there. The unconscious mind does not perceive direct communication, but indirect one: it reflects on symbols, figurative expressions, metaphors, etc., thereby expressing itself at a deeper level.

So how can a person access the unconscious mind and its resources? This is where the conversation about trance begins.


Trance is a certain state of human consciousness, the peculiarity of which is the focus of attention inward. The more a person is concentrated on his internal experiences (thoughts, sensations, etc.), the less busy he is with the outside world. And the deeper this state, the easier it is for a person to reunite with his inner world. In their everyday life, based on circumstances, people constantly switch their attention first to the internal and then to the external world, which means they sometimes enter a state of trance, then come out of it.

Based on the premises of NLP, we can name several modes of human functioning:

  • Downtime – a person is focused on the inner world;
  • Uptime – a person is focused on the outside world;
  • Sleep is an extreme type of downtime, when the external world ceases to exist and only the reality of the internal remains.

In a normal state, a person is usually somewhere between downtime and uptime. But here it is very important to know that these two states are neither good nor bad, and they can be assessed by analyzing your current activities. If you are crossing the road, swimming, holding a seminar, this is an uptime state. If you think about something, meditate, imagine something, then this is downtime. And it is undesirable to perform actions from the category of uptime in a state of downtime, for example, crossing the road in a half-asleep state, and meditating while jumping on one leg.

This leads to another conclusion that trance is a special state of downtime. And while in a trance, a person may seem completely detached from the outside world, but his personal experience at this time is extremely real for him, because a person in a trance is better aware of his unconscious processes.

Signs of trance

Trance can manifest itself through a number of physiological characteristics, the most common of which are the following:

  • Muscle relaxation. A person in a state of trance practically does not move, and his movements themselves slow down and become smoother. Often such a person will be immobile for a long period of time.
  • Low tone of voice. A person's voice in trance becomes lower due to the complete relaxation of the throat muscles.
  • Relaxed facial muscles. Thanks to the relaxation of the facial muscles, wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes disappear in a trance.
  • Slow breathing and low pulse. Due to maximum relaxation of the body muscles, the heart rate decreases and the breathing process slows down.
  • Changed eye expression. A person's gaze in a trance may become absent, because... he is immersed in his inner experiences.
  • Dulling of reflexes. Normal human reflexes (blinking, swallowing) are observed much less frequently if he is in a trance. The reaction to external stimuli also decreases.
  • State of tranquility. A person in trance is always in a relaxed state. Another indicator of trance is certain physical states that are uncharacteristic for a person in a normal state:
  • Amnesia - everything that happened to a person during a trance is forgotten.
  • Anesthesia - the sensations of discomfort and pain are dulled.
  • Hallucination - a person can see what is not there and not see what is.
  • Catalepsy - a person remains in the same position for a very long time without experiencing any unpleasant sensations.
  • Regression - a person can return to his past and even adopt the behavior of a child.
  • Curvature – spatial-temporal perception is distorted.

Naturally, all of these states characterize a trance state, but if you are attentive to yourself, you will be able to see that quite often we are immersed in each of them in our daily lives.

Now we move directly to the Milton model.

Milton model

The Milton model is a specific set of linguistic techniques that are used to put a person into a trance or change his state in order to gain access to the resources of the unconscious mind. This is done in order to make it possible to make certain changes or resolve complex problematic situations. The Milton model was developed by the founders of NLP - John Grinder and Richard Bandler, and was based on the experiments of Milton Erickson himself.

Milton Model Standards

All language standards of the Milton Model are based on the premises of the meta-model and are used to induce a state of trance and access the unconscious.

  • Deletions allow a person to learn what he wants to learn most. EXAMPLE. “In this NLP lesson you will easily learn...”
  • An indefinite index of links allows a person to attach the right meaning to the right people or events. EXAMPLE. “Soon a person will come who will turn out to be an important figure in your life and will be able to teach you a lot...”
  • Non-specific verbs are needed for a person to understand something exactly in the way that is most convenient for him. EXAMPLE. “You will give this your assessment...”
  • Comparisons allow you to evoke the desired reactions in a person. EXAMPLE. “Every minute you relax more and more...”
  • Judgments allow a person to remember specific moments in life. EXAMPLE. “It will be very good for you if you remember the brightest and most pleasant moments...”
  • Distortions are needed in order for some action to become equivalent to some state. EXAMPLE. "Lean back and you'll feel better in no time..."
  • Mind reading allows you to configure a person to benefit from performing any action. EXAMPLE. “The material will become much clearer to you if you just read this little chapter...”
  • Nominalizations contribute to the fact that any action pushes a person into a cycle of subsequent actions. EXAMPLE. “As you study the material, you will increasingly begin to feel your awareness and ability to practice...”
  • Cause-and-effect relationships allow you to configure a person to achieve a certain state through performing a specific action. EXAMPLE. “You breathe deeply, slowly inhaling and exhaling air. Gradually you relax and your thoughts come into order...”
  • Assumptions set a person up to perform a specific action. EXAMPLE. “I don’t know if you will remain the same after reading this book...”
  • Versatility allows you to remove conscious blockages. EXAMPLE. “The solution to this problem is already known to you, because... your subconscious knows it..."
  • Modal operators of possibility increase a person's confidence in himself and his abilities. EXAMPLE. "You can do that! I'm sure you will succeed..."
  • Modal operators of necessity allow you to motivate a person to action. EXAMPLE. “You just have to try it! If you want to understand the meaning, you need..."

And now we will talk about how to apply the Milton model in practice, because in order to learn how to use the acquired knowledge, we must master a certain structure of actions. We will look at it below.

Application of the Milton Model

Application of the Milton model involves the following three phases:

  1. Following a person's experience and putting him in a trance state
  2. Eliminating the Conscious Mind
  3. Accessing the Resources of the Unconscious Mind


Following a person's experience and putting him in a trance state

The simplest way to follow is to describe to a person the experience that he receives through hearing, seeing or feeling something. During communication, you need to describe some process, without focusing on details, but giving the person the opportunity to switch to his inner world, thereby transferring him into a state of trance, because the person is immersed in himself. In this case, you need to speak not loudly, calmly, so that the person does not feel discomfort.

EXAMPLE. "Imagine how good it would be if we..."


Eliminating the Conscious Mind

This stage takes as a basis several standards that direct a person’s attention inward.

Phonetic ambiguity is the use of words that sound the same but have different meanings. EXAMPLE. “Rise”, “Edge”, “Sign”, etc.

Syntactic ambiguity is the use of words that do not clarify the meaning of the context. These are mainly adjectives and participles. EXAMPLE. “Conditioned attribute” (conditioned by you or conditioning something?), “Passionate person” (fascinated by you or carried away by himself?), “Lost material” (lost by you or lost in general?).

Ambiguity of scope - the use of sentences or phrases in which the exact subject of the conversation cannot be understood. EXAMPLE. “Elderly women and men” (who exactly is elderly?), “Execution cannot be pardoned” (what exactly should be done?), “It would be good to do this” (who would be good or good if done? Who should do it?).

Punctuation uncertainty is the combination of individual sentences into one complex one, from which it is impossible to understand what is being said. EXAMPLE. “We think the new material has a strong impact on you because... your day is already going differently.”

Double binds are the use of sentences that imply a choice without a choice. EXAMPLE. “You can apply new knowledge now or later, or you can not apply it at all,” etc.

As additional techniques in the Milton model in order to tune a person into a trance state, you can use any basics of the metamodel, because when used skillfully, they stimulate his attention to immersion in himself.


Accessing the Resources of the Unconscious Mind

The techniques of the Milton model suggest the possibility of gaining access to the unconscious without causing a person any fears or assumptions in this regard.

Conversational postulates - the use of questions that require monosyllabic answers, but serve as a command. EXAMPLE. “Could you imagine that...?”, “Did you know that you can read minds?” and so on.

Tag questions are special questions that are inserted at the end of the main sentence in order to motivate a person to agree with you. Using several of these questions in a row sets the person up to agree with you altogether. EXAMPLE. “It’s easy, right?”, “You can do it yourself, right?”, “It’s convenient, isn’t it?” and so on.

Embedded questions are indirect questions that are inserted during communication, but the interlocutor reacts as if they were asked directly. EXAMPLE. “How can I find out what exactly annoys you?” “Could you help me by explaining a little about the essence of your problem?” and so on.

Embedded orders are indirect instructions for action inserted into a conversation during communication. EXAMPLE. “It is unknown whether you will be able to apply new knowledge in practice today,” “People with similar problems are always determined,” etc.

Quotations are used to emphasize information obtained from third-party sources, without making any guarantees. EXAMPLE. “An acquaintance told me that NLP is very effective in communication,” “My friend said that meditation helps you relax,” etc.

Metaphors - parables, analogies, figurative expressions are one of the best ways to access the resources of the unconscious mind. EXAMPLE. “Believe me, your potential can unfold like a lotus flower,” “Just pay attention and see how the days fly by,” etc.

In addition, it should be recalled that the foundations of the Milton Model we have discussed are not exhaustive and represent only an introduction to this topic. If you have a desire to get acquainted with it in more detail, you can turn to this interesting book.

And in conclusion of the article, I would like to say that nonverbal features in people’s communication can sometimes say much more about a person than the most informative communication, and the skills of recognizing and applying them can provide a significantly better result than any other psychological approach. It is only important to practice and do it systematically, because, as far as we know, only regular training brings the desired results.

Development of communication skills

Reading can help you improve your nonverbal communication skills.

A book, report or presentation on the topic of communication between people will broaden your horizons and draw attention to the subtleties of human behavior that were previously overlooked

  • The book “Psychology of Emotions. I Know How You Feel" by Paul Ekman will reveal the secrets of what is most important in managing behavior. The book is distinguished by entertaining and useful content, it will teach you to recognize, evaluate, control and correct emotions.
  • The book “The Psychology of Lies. Fool Me If You Can,” also written by Paul Ekman, will help you identify and respond to lies. The book is rich in examples of microexpressions and microgestures, knowledge of which will help bring deception to light. Useful reading for anyone who does not want to become a victim of manipulation or lies.

A presentation or report as part of training sessions on communication and nonverbal communication contains maximum useful information in a concise form

They will briefly and colorfully explain the essence of non-verbal communication, clearly demonstrate postures, gestures and decipher their meaning, and draw attention to the most important non-verbal means. Special literature, games and exercises during the training will help develop the skills of non-verbal interaction with others and understand the patterns of communication

Nonverbal communication: facial expressions

The facial muscles react to all thoughts and emotions affecting a person. Thus, facial expressions are one of the most important mechanisms of nonverbal communication. If a person is trying to hide his thoughts and emotions from you, his facial expressions will still give him away. The table shows the correspondence of sensory manifestations of facial expressions.

FeelingMimic manifestation
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Wide open eyelids
  • Open mouth
  • Drooping lip tips
  • Raised eyebrows, slightly shifted towards the bridge of the nose
  • Wide open eyelids
  • Drooping and slightly retracted corners of the mouth
  • Slightly stretched lips
  • Slightly open mouth (but not necessary)
  • drooping eyebrows
  • Curved folds on the forehead
  • Squinted eyes
  • Tightly closed lips and clenched teeth (can be recognized by tense cheekbones)
  • drooping eyebrows
  • Wrinkled nose tip
  • The lower lip is slightly protruded or pressed tightly against the upper lip
  • Eyebrows drawn to the bridge of the nose
  • There is no sparkle in the eyes
  • The corners of the mouth are slightly downturned
  • Calm expression in the eyes
  • Slightly raised and pulled back corners of the mouth

Nonverbal speech communication of people: use of speech, words, intonation

Non-verbal speech communication of people
Some types of non-verbal communication involve the use of speech, words, warmth in the voice and intonation. Such means of non-verbal speech communication of people are combined into the concept of prosody and extralinguistics. Prosody and extralinguistics regulate the speech flow, replace words and phrases, and determine the psycho-emotional state. When communicating, it is important to understand and be able to evaluate speech intonation and voice timbre. These indicators express the thoughts and emotions of the interlocutor:

  • Excitement and restlessness are characterized by rapid and choppy speech with a low pitch of voice.
  • Enthusiasm and joy are characterized by clear and confident speech with a loud voice.
  • Fatigue and grief are indicated by a low tone of voice and weakening intonation.
  • Arrogance - speech is slow and intonation is monotonous.
  • Uncertainty is characterized by speech with pauses and a nervous cough.
  • Fear is a high-pitched voice over a wide range of tonality, strength and pitch.

In nonverbal communication, in order to understand the interlocutor, you must have skills with which you can express emotions, feelings and thoughts. Having such skills, a person is able to establish control over the communication process and streamline it.

Example of nonverbal communication

At one university, an experiment was conducted in psychology classes. The audience, which consisted of married couples, was divided into two groups by gender and was given video recordings of different versions of babies crying. Then they were asked to explain their meaning. Most women who had children accurately deciphered them (hunger, wet diapers, pain, etc.), while men did not see much difference in the crying options. This led to the conclusion that women, being more sensitive and observant, interpret non-verbal gestures more easily. It’s more difficult for men to do this; they need specifics, and not all sorts of sentimental experiences. Of course, there are exceptions.

This case also explains why it can be difficult for the stronger sex to tell a lie to his wife, who seems to read the real state of affairs in her eyes.

Speech activity: forms of language

Speech activity is a situation in which communication between people occurs through verbal components, language. There are different types:

  • Writing is recording the content of speech on paper or electronic media.
  • Speaking is the use of language to convey a message.
  • Reading is the visual perception of information captured on paper or a computer.
  • Listening is the audio perception of information from speech.

Based on the speech form, communication can be oral and written. And if we consider it depending on the number of participants, it can be divided into mass and interpersonal.

There are also literary and non-literary forms of language, which are unique to each nationality; they determine the social and cultural status of the nation. Literary language is exemplary, structured, with stable grammatical norms. It is also presented in two forms: oral and written. The first is the speech that sounds, the second can be read. At the same time, oral appeared earlier, it was the original one that people began to use. Non-literary speech – dialects of individual nationalities, territorial features of the oral language.

But nonverbal communication is of greatest importance in the psychology of communication. A person unconsciously uses various signs: gestures, facial expressions, intonation, posture, location in space, etc. Let's move on to consider this large group.

Nonverbal means of communication. Part 1

Currently, there is a huge amount of information on the Internet on the topic “Nonverbal means of communication”. If you wish, you can read special articles and learn to determine the meaning of a particular pose, the meaning of a particular gesture. If you are attentive, body language will tell you much more about your interlocutor than he himself.

But it is one thing to recognize the nonverbal language of others, and quite another to control our nonverbal means to create the image we desire.

It is known that nonverbal communication occupies an important place in our lives. We very often use body language and body language when interacting with relatives, colleagues, friends, business partners, and in general, just strangers. Non-verbal means of communication also help in situations of public speaking, strengthening our speech and helping to quickly perceive the material.

Nonverbal means of communication also help in situations of public speaking, strengthening our speech and helping to quickly perceive the material.

How can you use body language and body language to enhance your performance?

How to properly and effectively manage your nonverbal language?

You will find material about this in the “Nonverbal means of communication” section.


Verbal communication is communication using words or verbal communication.

Nonverbal communication is communication without words, but through body language.

Nonverbal means of communication are a system of signs that complement, enhance, and sometimes replace our speech.


  • Optical-kinesthetic - based on the transmission of information through movements: facial expressions, gestures, human posture, his movement in space during communication.
  • Paralinguistic – based on the volume, timbre, tonality, and intonation of a person’s voice.
  • Extralinguistic - based on the rate of speech, the use of pauses, includes sighs, laughter, crying, etc.
  • Situational is the place in which communication occurs.
  • Visual – based on the interaction of interlocutors at the level of views.

You will find information about the importance of such methods of nonverbal communication as paralinguistic and extralinguistic in the “Speech Techniques” section. There you will also find a large number of exercises for developing your voice and all its components.

In the section “Nonverbal means of communication” we will focus on the most extensive group of signs of our body, which will certainly help each of you to strengthen interaction with the audience. Namely…


  • Expressive movements - body posture, gait, gestures, facial expressions.
  • Visual contact gaze – direction of gaze, its duration, frequency of eye contact.
  • Spatial movements - orientation in the room, placement at the table, distance.
  • Tactile movements - touching, shaking hands, patting.

We will talk about the importance of nonverbal communication in our lives in the next article. In the meantime...


What is the role of the nonverbal communication system of people in ordinary, business life?

Non-verbal communication of people
A person cannot interact with society, develop personality and professionalism without communication. One of the main roles in communication is played by non-verbal communication, which is carried out using facial expressions and gestures, gaze and speech, and distance. What is the role of the nonverbal communication system of people in ordinary, business life? What is it?

Using the nonverbal communication system, interlocutors:

  • Exchange information while controlling the conversation process
  • Explain, supplement, confirm, refute information
  • Show feelings, emotions, thoughts
  • Control and influence each other

During communication for the purpose of transmitting information, the following nonverbal signs are distinguished:

  • Special , which include gestures and touches
  • Unconscious, sports , which include surprise and change in complexion.

It is possible to understand the emotional state of the interlocutor by his facial expressions - the movement of the facial muscles. Using gestures, the interlocutor answers and ends the conversation. Gaze is one of the components of nonverbal communication, which conveys precise signals about the interlocutor and indicates the direction of his attention. When communicating, the voice is important to people - its timbre and intonation, the speed of speech pronunciation and pauses in it. To effectively develop relationships between partners and colleagues, there is business communication.

In the system of nonverbal communication there are a number of unique means characteristic of the type of business culture. Scientists classify these funds as follows:

  • Body movements and gestures
  • Distance between interlocutors
  • Facial and eye expression
  • Acoustic and tactile aids
  • Clothes, smell, manners

The main non-verbal means in business communication is the organization of space. Psychologists distinguish four zones:

  1. Intimate - from 15 to 46 cm
  2. Personal – from 46 to 120 cm
  3. Social – from 120 to 360 cm
  4. Public – more than 360 cm

The nonverbal communication system in human life is ancient, as our ancestors often communicated without words. Verbally, a person receives or transmits logical information, and non-verbal means of communication complement this information, weaken or contradict.

Non-verbal communication

Nonverbal communication – “body language”. He does not use speech, but uses other means, which allows him to perform important functions:

Focusing on what's important. Without mentioning unnecessary words, a person can use a gesture or take a certain position, which will indicate the significance of the moment. Controversy

The speaker says the same words, but thinks in completely opposite ways. For example, a clown on stage is unsmiling and unhappy in life. The slightest facial movements on his face will help you understand this. Just like exposing a lie if a person tries to hide it behind an insincere smile. Addition to what was said. Sometimes each of us accompanies enthusiastic words with a gesture or movement that indicates the strong emotionality of the given situation. Instead of words. The subject uses gestures that everyone can understand, saving time. For example, shrugging your shoulders or giving directions requires no further explanation. Repeat and enhance the effect of speech. A verbal appeal is sometimes quite emotional, and non-verbal means are designed to emphasize the firmness of your statement. Nodding or shaking the head when answering “Yes” or “No” shows confidence and assertiveness.

Types of nonverbal means

A large group consists of kinesthetics - external manifestations of a person’s feelings and emotions during communication. This:

  • Facial expressions
  • Poses
  • Gestures
  • Pantomime

Gestures and postures

The interlocutors’ assessment of each other occurs long before the conversation itself begins. Posture, gait, and gaze can in advance reveal a person who is insecure or, on the contrary, self-confident, with claims to power. Gestures usually emphasize the meaning of speech, give it an emotional tint, and place accents, but their excess can also ruin the impression, especially in a business meeting. In addition, for different nationalities the same gestures mean completely opposite phenomena.

Intense gestures determine a person's emotional state. If his movements are sharp, there are many of them, then the subject is overexcited, agitated, overly interested in conveying his information to the opponent. Which can be both an advantage and a significant disadvantage, depending on the circumstances.

Posture plays an equally important role. If the subject has his arms crossed over his chest, then he is skeptical and does not really trust you. Perhaps he is closed, does not want communication in principle. If the interlocutor turned his body towards you and did not cross his arms and legs, then, on the contrary, he was open and ready to listen. In psychology, for effective communication, it is recommended to mirror the opponent’s posture in order to achieve relaxation and trust from him.

Facial expressions

A person’s face is the main source of information about his internal state. A frown or a smile are the factors that determine further communication with the subject. Eyes truly reflect human essence. There are seven types of basic emotions, each of which has its own characteristic signs: anger, joy, fear, sadness, melancholy, surprise, disgust. They are easy to remember, identify and then observe in people to better understand the mood of others.


This includes gait. A closed or upset person most often slouches, lowers his head, does not look into the eyes, but prefers to look at his feet. Angry people walk with sharp movements, hasty but heavy. A confident and cheerful person has a springy gait or a long stride. It changes depending on how you feel.

There is a section of nonverbal means that takes into account the distance between speakers - proxemics. It determines the comfortable distance between the interlocutors. There are several communication areas:

  • Intimate - 15-45 cm. A person allows only those closest to him there. Intrusion by strangers may be perceived as a threat requiring immediate protection.
  • Personal – 45-120 cm. Acceptable for good friends and colleagues.
  • Social and public – typical for business negotiations, major events and speaking at them from the podium.

Takeshika is a section of communication dedicated to the role of touch. If you apply them incorrectly, without taking into account the difference in social status, age, gender, then you can find yourself in an awkward situation, even become the cause of a conflict. A handshake is the most harmless form of touch. This is especially true for men who use it to test the strength of their opponent. They choose, so to speak, which of them is the most powerful. Sometimes uncertainty, or disgust, or compliance is easily revealed when a person only shakes his fingertips.

Prosody and extralinguistics

Prosody and extralinguistics analyze the individual from the point of view of such non-verbal elements as:

  • Intonation – allows you to determine the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and mood of the interlocutor;
  • Loudness – characterizes volitional aspirations, the emotional state of a person (hysteria, poise, etc.);
  • Timbre reveals the character of an individual. A high timbre is a sign of self-confidence or excitement, a low timbre is a sign of relaxation and softness, and a chesty timbre is of increased emotionality.
  • Poise - allows you to give words additional meaning and weight. Using a pause, the interlocutor can take time to think and convey his emotions (offense, surprise, disagreement).
  • A sigh has no verbal content, but can eloquently express hopelessness, tragedy, and sadness.
  • Laughter – capable of defusing the situation and inspiring (cheerful, comical). Or vice versa – upset, lower self-esteem (sarcastic, cynical, malicious).
  • Crying - expresses an overabundance of feelings of the interlocutor.
  • Cough is interpreted as a person’s desire to symbolically “burp” something or bewilderment or disagreement with something.

Exercises used to restore speech

Gymnastics are done daily, making sure that the movements performed are correct.

  • Stretch your lips with a tube for 5 seconds, then relax for 2 seconds.
  • Alternately grab and bite your upper and lower lips with your teeth. 5 seconds for each “bite”.
  • Stick your tongue as far forward as possible for 3 seconds, stretch your neck, relax.
  • Lick your lips in one direction or the other several times, then in a circle.
  • Stick your tongue out into a tube forward for 3 seconds, then relax for three seconds.

Exercises in the form of pronouncing tongue twisters are effective in restoring speech.

When learning to speak after a stroke, it is important to constantly be in contact with a speech therapist; classes with the patient at home are carried out only with his permission. Non-professionals easily give excessive speech load and exercises that are too difficult for the patient

At the beginning of classes, exercises should be performed for 7–15 minutes, gradually increasing the duration to half an hour. You can’t exercise for more than thirty minutes - overwork will lead to regression.

Human life is a constant interaction with other people. The importance of nonverbal communication cannot be overestimated. Communication skills are useful in everyday life and in professional activities, since it is non-verbal communication that takes up the majority of everyday interaction with others.


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Virginia Satyr Categories

Virginia Satir was one of the world's leading psychologists and family therapists. And the basics of its work were used at the very beginning of the development of NLP. During her career, she wrote many works in these areas and also gave lectures. During her practice, she noticed that all people, as a rule, fall into one of five categories of linguistic behavior. These types are: blaming, ingratiating, calculating, detached and balanced. They all reflect basic communication styles and provide a significant amount of data about how a person prefers to interact with others. Let's look at these categories in more detail.

Accuser. People belonging to this category tend to look for people who can be blamed for the fact that everything is not happening as it should. They project their experiences onto others, call them different names, point fingers at them, and use stern gestures. Their main motivation is to show others their “place” and to reprimand. Blaming people are usually very lonely.

Ingratiating. The peculiarity of ingratiating people is that they mirror those who accuse, also wanting to shift the blame onto someone else. But they do it a little differently: despite the fact that they shift responsibility to others, they make an effort to ensure that they themselves are perceived as very pleasant and positive people. Moreover, they may even take the blame for something in order to whitewash themselves. Ingratiating people often point out cause-and-effect relationships, use a lot of nonspecific verbs (that don't say anything specific about how something was done) and modal operators (can, can't, must, must, etc.), but don't use sharp gestures.

Calculating. People of this type prefer to hide their emotions so as not to reveal their true reactions or intentions. They are rational, unemotional, and have self-control. Those around them often perceive them as indifferent, aloof, cold, and insensitive. They relieve themselves of responsibility by moving the conversation into a more general direction and using “you” messages, i.e. phrases that make others feel guilty. Due to their personality traits, such people often live alone.

Detached. Such people can play the role of blaming, ingratiating, and calculating. It is precisely because of their ability to switch from one type to another that they are called detached. In life situations, they try to act as the situation dictates to them. In speech they often use generalizations, do not talk about anything specifically, but rather mean something by their words.

Balanced. People belonging to this type can be described as maximally adequate and based only on facts. They express everything exactly as they consider necessary and correct, often telling the truth to their face, thereby causing negative emotions in others. This is perhaps the only negative in the general characteristics of balanced people.

You can recognize any of the five types presented by being careful in observing people's body language. For example, blaming people generally show signs of being visual, ingratiating people are kinesthetic, and calculating people are digital. The detached ones, in turn, reflect all types of representative systems and can represent one or the other. Simply put, you will be able to determine a person's Satyr category after spending some time with them. The fact is that most often all the mental characteristics of a person manifest themselves unconsciously and it is quite problematic to veil them, so you need to be extremely attentive to any of their manifestations, and especially physical ones. But there’s no need to rush into defining a category either. With experience, a new skill will be honed and there will be more opportunities to use it. And remember that when communicating with other people, you should also pay attention to yourself, because... you behave yourself based on your predisposition to one of the categories.

Speaking about the categories according to Satir, we should certainly talk about how to adapt to these categories, because This process has a number of important features.

Adjustment to categories by Satyr

Adjusting to categories according to Satir in NLP differs from simple adjustment to predicate words, when you try to tune in to the representative system of another person, because... adjustment to categories, on the contrary, can interrupt the established connection with another person and strengthen the behavior demonstrated by him. Based on the words of Virginia Satir herself, when adjusting to people of different categories, you should always, except in cases with people of a balanced category, disconnect from them. So, for example, talking with an accusing person from the position of the same accusing person can only lead to a tense argument. Ingratiating yourself with someone who is ingratiating you is not practical, because... this will lead to mutual complaining about life. To be distant when communicating with someone who is distant means to introduce confusion and misunderstanding into communication. Following the manner of a calculating person during contact with a calculating one will lead to nothing but an exchange of dry phrases and cliched expressions. It follows that effective affiliation is possible only with people of a balanced category.

So what is the best way to adjust to the categories according to Satir?

  • It is best to start adjusting from the position of a prudent person, because... in communication he is vague and does not take unnecessary risks. This tactic allows you to more accurately and slowly determine the position of the other person.
  • Try to avoid acting from the perspective of a distant person, otherwise others may have the wrong impression of you as a person who may have some problems with himself.
  • Keep in mind that there is always a discrepancy between what a person actually feels and what he says, as well as how this is expressed on a physiological level.
  • Don’t make hasty conclusions, but watch people more, listen to them and compare what you were able to note with what you know about each of the categories.
  • Having roughly established the category to which a person belongs, methodically begin to use methods of communication and influence appropriate for this category. If something is not confirmed, then perhaps you should try to apply techniques that are effective for another category, because the assessment (especially at the very beginning of practice) may be given incorrectly.

And a few more words about categories

Almost all people are accustomed to functioning in a certain mode, i.e. feel comfortable performing all actions from the position of the most preferred category. But there is one caveat: none of the categories is effective on its own and in stressful situations can serve as a bad way to overcome them rather than a good one, because it limits the potential capabilities of any person. And in unusual or stressful situations, it is advisable to be flexible and use the maximum number of means of communication and ways of interacting with people and circumstances.

Remember that the communication professional, while aware of the existence of categories, is not a follower or example of any of them, but uses them all!

Now we should talk about one of the main concepts in NLP and psychology in general, without which not a single fact of people’s interaction with each other and the world around them can exist - the next section of the article is devoted to rapport and its establishment.

Nonverbal signals as the only means of communication

The importance of non-verbal communication cannot be overestimated - it remains the only means of exchanging information in cases where:

  • people do not know each other's language even at a basic level;
  • people do not have the physical ability to make sounds.

If in the first case it is subsequently possible to establish a higher level of communication through the gradual study of each other’s languages, then in the second, various types of non-verbal communication come to the fore and become the only possible means of contact.

In situations where people who are physically capable of producing sounds find themselves in an environment that does not allow them to pronounce these sounds, it is the tools of nonverbal communication that come to the fore. These signals are used in scuba diving (dive signals), in noisy rooms (rolling shops, engine rooms), while hunting, and when participating in hostilities (ambushes).

Nonverbal errors

Even if a person is not familiar with the intricacies of nonverbal communication, he subconsciously rejects and rejects some unpleasant moments. As a rule, communication with your interlocutor does not work out if you make the following mistakes:

Hidden palms. Keeping your hands in your pockets, behind your back, or simply crossed means closing yourself off from your interlocutor. This suggests to him that you are insincere or afraid. If you find it difficult to maintain an open posture, pick up an object (a pen or a folder), but do not hide it. Look away. Looking at the floor, around or at foreign objects is extremely wrong

It is important to make eye contact. You can only look away if you are showing something to your interlocutor (for example, a product or document)

But at the end of the presentation, be sure to make eye contact. Slouching and searching for support. All this is evidence of your lack of self-confidence. If you feel that you cannot control your emotions, it is better to invite your interlocutor to sit down. Violation of personal space. If the interlocutor is not your relative or close friend, do not come closer than a meter to him and do not try to establish tactile contact (touching or hugging). The interlocutor may take this as tactlessness or become embarrassed. Do not touch your face, ears or hair. In general, do as little manipulation of body parts as possible. This indicates your secrecy, insincerity, or lack of self-confidence.

Expressive movements

Open gestures and body postures


The interlocutor's hands are turned palms up and spread wide to the sides. The head is straight, the shoulders are straightened. The look is direct. Facial expressions are natural, without tension or stiffness. This pose of friendliness, as a means of non-verbal communication, speaks of openness and sincerity. It is also indicated by shaking hands and clasping them with both hands. Men may unbutton their shirt or jacket while talking. When communicating with such a person, you involuntarily relax and feel trust in him.

This technique is recommended to be used when communicating with people who are significant to you. Combined with a sincere tone, you will quickly win your favor.


In nonverbal communication, there is the concept of mental contact, which is expressed in the involuntary copying of each other’s gestures or entire behavior. A signal is sent to each other: “I understand you perfectly.” And indeed, if you take a look at a couple peacefully talking at a table, you will see similar poses, the same placement of hands, even mirroring. If you want to convince another person to unconditionally share his opinion, simply copy his body position.

If you observe the gait of a happy man in love, we will notice a flying gait, which is very noticeable. It is also typical for self-confident, energetic people. It seems that they don’t care about all the problems.

Closed gestures and postures (defense, suspicion, secrecy)


Have you probably seen someone hiding their hands during a conversation? It is likely that he is telling a lie, since the person’s brain subconsciously sends signals to the body and when a lie is told, a strong desire arises to put his hands in his pocket, scratch his nose, and rub his eyes. All these are typical signs, however, as MirSovetov has already said, the meaning of non-verbal gestures must be explained together. A person suffering from a runny nose can scratch their nose, a child who has just woken up can rub their eyes, etc.


Arms crossed on the chest, legs crossed in standing and sitting positions - a classic gesture of closedness and inaccessibility. Frequent blinking is a sign of protection and confusion. A person’s emotional status does not allow him to feel free and at ease. If you try to negotiate something with such an interlocutor, it is likely that you will receive a refusal. To “melt the ice,” MirSovetov advises using the means of nonverbal communication already described above, try to take an open pose with your palms up.

Gestures of reflection and evaluation


Expressed in pinching the bridge of the nose with closed eyes. When the person you are communicating with is deciding what to do or what to do, or generally thinking about solving a certain issue, he may be rubbing his chin at this time.


If a person holds his hand to his chin, with his index finger stretched along his cheek, and with the other hand supports his elbow, his left eyebrow is lowered - you will understand that he has a negative assessment of what is happening.


Interpreted as a slight tilt of the head forward and a light touch of the hand to the cheek. The body is tilted forward. Here is a person who is interested in what is happening and has a positive attitude towards information.

Gestures of doubt and uncertainty


Have you probably noticed how some students cover their mouths with their palms while listening to a speaker? This gesture indicates disagreement with the lecturer's opinion. They seem to hold back their statements, suppress true feelings and experiences. If during a conversation your friend unexpectedly made a gesture of distrust, stop and think about what words caused such a reaction? By observing the behavior of the boss, the subordinate will understand what needs to be said and what it is better to remain silent about. Distrust quickly turns into rejection and then into refusal.


A nonverbal gesture such as scratching or rubbing the back of the ear or neck may indicate that the person does not fully understand what you want from him or what you mean in the conversation. How to interpret such a gesture if you were told of complete understanding? Here preference should be given to the non-verbal body signal. In this case, the person did not understand anything. A hand clasping another’s elbow from behind also speaks of uncertainty; its owner is probably in unfamiliar company.

Gestures and postures indicating reluctance to listen


The interlocutor props his head with his hand. It is clear that he is indifferent to what is happening. If he is sitting in the audience, we can say with confidence: the material presented by the lecturer is completely uninteresting. In such cases, MirSovetov recommends changing the topic of conversation to something that worries him or “shake him up” with an unexpected question. Be sure that he will wake up, and this is exactly what you need.


Shaking off non-existent lint, straightening the folds of clothing, tugging at your skirt in non-verbal communication is a sign of your opponent’s disagreement with the point of view being expressed. You will quickly realize the need to switch to neutral topics. However, if a thread actually sticks to the sleeve of a jacket, or the clothing is wrinkled, this should not be regarded as a gesture of disapproval.

Willingness to leave

It can be identified by such signs as drooping of the eyelids (loss of interest), scratching the ear (blocking out the flow of speech), pulling on the earlobe (does not want to speak), turning the whole body towards the door or pointing the leg in this direction. The gesture of removing glasses also gives a signal to end the conversation.


When a person tells an obvious lie and realizes that you have seen through him, he will experience irritation from your rightness, which may manifest itself in an involuntary loosening of his tie or collar. In non-verbal communication, this can also manifest itself in rubbing the neck, unnecessary movements of the hands, pinching a lady’s purse, or mechanically drawing on paper.

Gestures of dominance


The so-called “director pose” or “boss pose” in a sitting position. Hands lie behind the head, one leg on the other. If the eyelids are barely closed or the corners of the eyes are slightly squinted, the gaze is directed downward - you see arrogance, disdain. This body position is often adopted by bosses and people in leadership positions as a means of nonverbal communication. They are confident in themselves and demonstratively express their importance to others. An attempt to copy this gesture threatens immediate dismissal from work.


Almost all men use this gesture, much less women. The nature of the handshake can say a lot, first of all it will reveal the intentions of the other person. If, at the moment of joining two hands, one is higher with the back side, its owner demonstrates his leading position. You can check how firmly he defends his status as a leader in a simple way: turn your hand up. If you feel resistance, it means that you will not be able to convince him to take equality between you.

Sexual gestures

When a man likes a woman, he shows his thumbs tucked into his belt, places his hands on his hips, or spreads his legs wide apart. The look at a woman is usually intimate, and can linger for a long time on selected parts of the body. A man may involuntarily straighten his tie or collar with his hand. If a woman tries to interest you, she unconsciously raises her head, straightens her hair, straightens her blouse. The more subtle art of seduction through non-verbal communication involves exposing your wrists and spreading your legs while sitting or standing. If a woman shows an intimate look in combination with an accidentally slipped strap on her shoulder, a half-dressed shoe on a crossed leg, be sure of her desire to start flirting. An open mouth and wet lips are typical sexual calls.

Tactile movements

These include hugs, handshakes, pats on the shoulder or back, touching, and kissing.


The nature of the hug, its strength, and duration determine the meaning of the feelings expressed by a person. Bosom friends who have been separated for a long time almost strangle each other in a tight embrace when they meet. The lovers linger in a tender embrace for a long time. Hugs between distant relatives, depending on previously maintained contacts, can be either restrained, cold, or passionate. Between close people they have a soft, heartfelt meaning. At wrestling competitions, for example, the participants briefly hug and disperse.

Such a means of non-verbal communication as hugs is more common among representatives of the stronger half of humanity; among women they are slightly less common. Nowadays you can see two teenage girls on the streets running towards each other with open arms. At this age, the frequency of such contacts, both between boys and girls, is expressive in nature, when you want to throw out an excess of joy, delight and admiration for the meeting. If you see same-sex couples slowly strolling along the sidewalk in entwined arms, this may involuntarily suggest a gay person.


Handshakes, as one of the means of non-verbal communication, also differ in the way they are performed, strength and duration. A strong, energetic shaking of the interlocutor’s hand, coupled with a joyful exclamation, speaks of the partner’s sincerity and his desire to continue the conversation. Wrapping your hands in the form of a “glove” also speaks of friendliness. But if they hold out a lifeless hand to you, like a dead fish, they don’t want to contact you.

A cold hand in a handshake can signal that its owner is either cold or very worried. Steamy palms indicate a nervous experience. A hand that is palm down in a handshake indicates a desire to dominate the other person. If, on the contrary, it is turned palm up, its owner unconsciously recognizes himself as subordinate to the interlocutor.

Patting on the back or shoulder

Patting on the back or shoulder is mainly characteristic of men. These nonverbal gestures are often interpreted as signs of friendship, concern, or encouragement. They can be seen in almost all age categories. Patting, as it were, demonstrates masculine strength and the willingness of its owner to come to the rescue.

By the way, this gesture should not be confused with that used in medical practice. They slap a newborn child on the back to make him scream and expand his lungs; they slap a choking person from behind. Patting is a type of technique in massage practice. That is, the specific meaning of this gesture depends on the current situation.


Touch is common in the world of nonverbal communication. In educational activities, it helps to stop a mischievous person, in the case of a deaf person, to attract his attention; in medical practice, this gesture is used to diagnose a health condition; the massage technique is based on a combination of ways of touching the body; in the intimate sphere between spouses, they serve as foreplay to the connection. Different types of touch are an indicator of the partner’s unexpressed feelings. They can be gentle, affectionate, light, strong, rough, wounding, etc.


Kissing, as a type of tactile gesture, is widely used in all aspects of human life. In relation to a specific object, the nature of kissing changes. The mother kisses the child tenderly and lovingly, between loving people they can vary from a light touch of lips to a passionate kiss. MirSovetov, in a separate article, reveals the whole gamut of this type of gesture in courting the opposite sex. Here we note that kisses can be both sincere manifestations of feelings and formal, cold, traditional. They kiss when meeting and goodbye, kiss at birth.

Features of nonverbal communication between a man and a woman

When meeting a potential partner of the opposite sex, a person unconsciously gives signals and gestures that attract his attention:

  • tilting the head and body towards the chosen one;
  • prolonged eye contact, with transitions to a sliding glance from bottom to top, raised eyebrows;
  • feet pointing towards the partner;
  • maintaining a minimum distance between bodies;
  • the voice becomes louder, trembling appears, laughter is used more often;
  • men involuntarily focus on the genital area: adjusting the belt, putting their thumbs behind the belt or pocket;
  • women show open wrists. This area of ​​the hands is considered one of the erogenous zones;
  • unconsciously copies (“mirrors”) the partner’s movements and posture.

Interesting fact: behavioral scientists, correlating the process of courtship in the animal world with the signs and signals used by people during flirting, have identified similarities in the gestures used by people of both sexes to attract a potential sexual partner.

Nonverbalism appeared before verbal interaction, when ancient people used hand gestures and head movements to convey information to their opponents. Therefore, nonverbal communication occurs unconsciously; a person does not control it if there is no such goal consciously. The ability to recognize and interpret the slightest body movements makes it possible to control the conversation, manage negotiations, and make the right impression.

Visual contact gaze

Eye contact is an undeniably important communication process. As you already know, a person receives about 80% of impressions from all senses through vision. With the help of the eyes, we can convey a wide variety of expressions; thanks to them, we can control the course of the conversation and provide feedback on human behavior. The gaze helps in the exchange of remarks, since most statements without the participation of the eyes would be meaningless.

Remember how urgently interlocutors on the Internet need a variety of emoticons, which are a replacement for such means of non-verbal communication as the exchange of glances and facial expressions. After all, without seeing each other, it is much more difficult to convey the feelings experienced. Developers of instant messaging programs, improving their software characteristics, are trying to include and expand the function of eye expression, general facial expressions and various hand gestures. And, as practice shows, the demand for such programs like ICQ is very high. People crave meaningful communication on the Internet. And the emergence of the video calling function in cell phones and the installation of video equipment on the computer, which allows you to communicate interactively, contemplating each other, is precisely the answer to the need for live communication at a remote distance.

The gaze also takes part in the expression of intimacy and frankness. With it, you can set the degree of proximity to a person.

In communication, the gaze, as a rule, carries out an information search, for example, the listener looks at the speaker, and if he pauses, silently awaits continuation without breaking eye contact; gives a signal about a free communication channel, for example, the speaker indicates with an eye sign that the conversation is over; helps establish and maintain social relationships when we seek a person's gaze to engage in conversation.

In psychology, there are several types of looks, each of which carries very significant information about a person’s thoughts: 1. Business look - when we look at the forehead and eyes of the interlocutor. We often behave this way when meeting unfamiliar people, managers and bosses. 2. Social gaze – when we direct our eyes to the area of ​​a person’s face in the area of ​​the mouth, nose and eyes. It is typical in situations of casual communication with friends and acquaintances. 3. Intimate gaze - passes through the line of the interlocutor’s eyes and drops to a level below the chin, neck and other parts of the body. There may be dilation of the pupils, as an anticipation of pleasure.

We have already mentioned the fact that it is more difficult for men to deceive their wives and girlfriends, since women can expose a lie much faster by reading their eyes. How do they do this? First of all, by characteristic changes in the eyes due to contraction of the eye muscles. When trying to deceive, it is difficult for a person to withstand the gaze; he blinks and looks away. These signs may also be present with sadness, shame, and disgust. If he experiences suffering, tears flow from his eyes, but they also appear with laughter and joy. In any case, to correctly interpret nonverbal gestures, we take into account the surrounding environment and the context of circumstances. One thing is definitely certain: the dilation or constriction of the pupils, which occurs as a response to excitement, occurs involuntarily, without taking into account consciousness, and the autonomic nervous system is involved in this. If the direction of gaze can still be controlled somehow, then changing the pupils is beyond our control. When we talk about a person: “he has expressive eyes”, “she has an evil look”, “she cast the evil eye on me”, we mean precisely the information obtained through non-verbal communication when observing a person’s pupils. Children abandoned by their parents have a dry, distant look, filled with the pain of loneliness, which gives them an adult expression. On the contrary, loved and caressed babies look at the world completely differently.

The length of the gaze may indicate the degree of interest. A close, persistent person will tell you about his intention to extract some information from you or force you to obey. For couples in love, such a look serves as a signal to begin active courtship. If you look closely at a sleeping person, he may subconsciously experience anxiety and even wake up. It is interesting that in the animal world, a gaze serves as a signal for an impending attack, so it is not surprising when, sensing a similar signal from an unfamiliar person, you experience anxiety and a desire to hide. With peripheral (lateral) vision, we are able to see objects and the situation around us and analyze the degree of danger. Serial killers and maniacs have a very different view from the view of an ordinary person. All previous behavior of a person up to a given point in time, the situations that he solves and the methods he uses to eliminate problems - everything leaves an imprint on the expression of his eyes. A tired mother after a sleepless night with a baby, a pensioner living on crumbs, a student who did not receive the scholarship he was counting on - everyone has a peculiar expression in their eyes. If, for example, you are in close relationships with such people, you will definitely understand the reason for this look.

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