Lists with all types of nonverbal communication 

Part 1, Part 2Part 3

I have here a huge list of various types of non-verbal communication. Whilst my website is largely about verbal communication in couple relationships, it would be incomplete without a page on the non-verbal stuff.

Nonverbal communication is most often linked with talking and more importantly - listening.  Your listening skills - and therefore your responding skills - will hugely improve, if you supplement listening with observing someone's body language and other non-verbal communication. 

Spend time sharpening your awareness of body language and other non-verbal stuff and everyone around you will benefit of your upgraded communication skills. With regards to my particular interest - you'd get better at picking up signs from your partner that could otherwise easily go unnoticed!

If you communicate (read: listen and watch) well, not only everyone around you benefits, but you'll increase your happiness for sure.

In case this page doesn't have what you're looking for, hop over to these:

Semiotics of nonverbal communication

Here is an unmissable presentation - it speaks for itself…


Types of nonverbal communication: an overview

There’s a whole variety of ways in which we communicate meaning. Some kinds of nonverbal communication are more obvious than others.  

Sign language

You could argue that the following sign languages are technically a verbal way of communicating. Although there are no sounds, the languages are made up of a combination of words, expressions and often 'mouthing' words or meanings, as well as gestures.

There are 5 types of sign language:

  1. Sign language for the deaf 
  2. Sign language for people who are deaf and blind
  3. Sign language for children and adults with special needs and communication problems, such as Makaton (see link further down)
  4. Sign language for babies - a most fabulous way to understand and communicate with your hearing baby, before he or she can speak!
  5. Sign language for communicating with animals for example dogs and dolphins 

Visit this fantastic page on sign languages of the world for links to other sign languages.

7 other types of nonverbal communication - body language

  1. 'Accidental' body language - all the different types of movements, postures and facial expressions
  2. Intentional body language - empathic movements and touch, postures and facial expressions
  3. Intentional body language – violent / abusive movements and touch, postures and facial expressions
  4. Observance and use or abuse of personal space
  5. Dance (have a look at the fabulous video further down)
  6. Vocal sounds without words: laughter, crying, expression of pain, sounds like: "Mmmmm", "Aha", "Ugh!" etc. These all express wordlessly a variety of feelings, such as surprise, disgust, happiness, anger, sadness and so on.
  7. Touch too is a nonverbal way of communicating

3 new types of non-verbal communication

  1. Emoticons in emails and texts are the newest addition to this list
  2. Deliberately posting photos on Facebook and other social media to provoke a reaction
  3. Digital manipulation of images to cause a particular reaction

Silence, respect and disrespect

Of course, not saying anything when there’s an expectation that something should be said is nonverbal communication too. Interpreting this kind of non-verbal communication requires careful exploration, understanding of the context and most probably additional information.

Respect or disrespect for cultural differences also communicates meaning.

All of the above types of nonverbal communication overlap of course. Intentional body language and types of nonverbal communication 'leak' unintentional stuff.

Hop over to Part 2 to see an incredible video showing the power of non verbal communication through dance, together with more examples of indirect nonverbal communication and how they are used by professionals...

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Images courtesy of: UrbaneWomenMag and fensterbme