Functions of Non Verbal Communication There are various types of non verbal communication methods, each of which has certain function or objective. Non verbal communication has multipurpose functions. Some of them are discussed below-
Functions of Non Verbal Communication
- Sign or Marks of Identity: Non verbal communication also functions as the sign or marks of identity for some objects or people. For example, the dress and ranking sign of Bangladesh Navy differentiate it from Bangladesh Army.
- Contradict: Sometimes, non verbal behaviors are used to show contradiction to verbal communication. For example, you may say to someone, yes, I have time to you’ but then you continue to work on something else instead of listening him. Here, the verbal message, ‘I have time to talk to you’ is contradicted by your action, which clearly says, ‘ I am too busy for you right now’.
- Substitute: Non verbal behaviors may be used as the substitute of verbal messages. For example, while using phone if someone comes to the door of your office, you may motion for the person to come in and gesture toward a chair. These non verbal expressions mean come in and have a seat. So, non verbal communication can be used as the substitute of verbal communication without interrupting the normal activities of people.
- Complement: Non verbal communication can also be used as a complement of verbal communication. We use different non verbal cues for re enforcing our verbal message. We use sweeping hand or motion when we indicate something to others. For example, your teacher may hold up a copy of a textbook at the time of telling you the title, author and the publisher of the book to be used in your course.
- Control or Regulation: Non verbal cues may also be used to control the behaviors of others. Silence controls by refocusing attention. A lifted finger asks for an opportunity to speak. A finger placed against the mouth is a cue for silence. Such non verbal cues are consciously made and deliberate to control the behavior of others. To get the best example of the use of non verbal communication as control, consider the functions of the referee in a football match or the functions of an umpire in the cricket match.
- Restate or Emphasize: Gestures and facial expressions may be used to restate or emphasize a particular point. We sometimes nod our heads yes while verbally expressing agreement. We may smile broadly as we say ‘how nice to see you again’. Sometimes our dress may convey the degree of importance we place on a particular meeting. In many cases, we reaffirm our verbal communication by using non verbal behaviors.
- Others: Non verbal communication or cues also perform some other functions like instruction of handing some products, forbidding to do some activates, access or restriction to somewhere and so on.
From the above discussion, we find that non verbal communication performs different functions all of which are very important to us.