What are the Different Functions of Nonverbal Communication?

  1. Repeating. The message conveyed by verbal communication may be repeated by nonverbal behavior. For instance, you can say “No” (verbal) while shaking your head (nonverbal).
  2. Substituting. Nonverbal symbols may replace a verbal message especially when one refuses to communicate verbally. An example is when your teacher asks you a question and you shrug your shoulders.
  3. Complementing. Nonverbal behavior adds up to the meaning of a statement if it is consistent with the verbal message. For instance, when asked how you are doing, smiling complements the statement expressing that you are fine.
  4. Contradicting. Verbal communication may be contradicted if one’s nonverbal behavior is inconsistent with what is being portrayed. Saying you are telling the truth without making eye contact is contradictory.
  5. Regulating. Nonverbal cues can regulate the flow of conversation. Pausing, for instance signifies it is the other person’s turn. Refusing to speak in turn may mean you want the other person to continue speaking.
  6. Accenting. Paralinguistic features such as rising intonation, word stress, or loudness help emphasize our verbal message.
  7. Deceiving. Nonverbal behavior may be intentionally used to hide how we truly feel. For instance, putting up a brave face in the face of adversity is a form of deception. Pretending to be calm when we feel nervous inside is essential in public speaking.