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Non-Verbal Communication, Proxemics, and Gestures

Communication is essential for human beings to socialize with one another and for these socializations to occur. Communication assists in providing information, influencing, expressing feelings and imaginations, and meeting social expectations between individuals. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal depending on the message to be shared or the situations involved during the transmission. Nonverbal communication includes voice intonation and pitch, facial expression, the distance between the individuals in communication, and body language. Beyond spoken (verbal) communication, various non-verbal cues may provide extra information, meaning, and hints. Therefore, it is essential to understand what comprises non-verbal communication and observe how people use the communication style in different situations and how they convey meanings.

People use nonverbal messages to display their emotions. In general, nonverbal cues are the primary way we communicate our feelings, attitudes, and how we interact with one another (Segerstrale & Molnar, 2018). On a plane where most people were strangers, a passenger would bump into another passenger they were familiar with, and you would see their faces lighten and a smile form on their faces as they spoke. When one is smiling, it communicates pleasure, either that they are usually pleased and are relishing the other individual presence or that one is delighted by anything special, like a joke. In this case, the smile showed that the passengers were delighted to have each other’s presence on a plane where everyone was like a stranger. Nonverbal communication helps preserve relationships after they have evolved beyond the first phases by letting us convey feelings and seek and offer emotional and social support.

When two individuals have verbal communication, they keep eye contact. Eye contact is a particularly effective form of nonverbal communication because it is most people’s most common sensory preference (Segerstrale & Molnar, 2018). Looking at someone can convey various emotions, such as interest, hostility, affection, or attraction. In the plane, eye contact seemed to convey some honesty and concentration in the story. Honesty is essential in helping people build trust and the growth of connections. When individuals lose eye contact and begin doing other things or looking elsewhere, it is easy to lose their concentration and get distracted by other things. It is a show of disrespect and lack of appreciation to get distracted by other unimportant things in the middle of a conversation. Non-verbal communication is essential in showing the relationship between two individuals or the values they hold.

Hepatics are also essential to nonverbal communication that shows satisfaction or appreciation. Shaking hands as a usual touch salutation, for example, differs throughout cultures. It is typical for US American coworkers to shake hands upon encountering one another for the first time and then shake again after quitting the company (Segerstrale & Molnar, 2018). As the passengers were getting on board, a few shook their hands despite the World Health Organization’s warns. However, they did it to show that they recognized the fellow passengers who boarded the plane. Handshakes may be an effective first-impression-creating communication strategy. These gestures are often given and received during interpersonal or professional interactions. They serve as a welcome, but they also foster sentiments of closeness and trust.

Personal space is also crucial in non-verbal communication, which people find to display different messages. Everybody’s body occupies a certain amount of space in various contexts and circumstances. There are unwritten standards concerning personal space in specific settings, like a packed bus. The plan has a specific seating arrangement, and how a person utilizes their spaces gives information about them and whatever they are trying to communicate. On the plane, the personal space seemed larger among strangers than among friends. Proxemics can show the level of intimacy that exists between two individuals. Those intimate are always close together, so they can touch and even smell each other. In the plane, those who traveled as partners kept close to one another and never minded even when their bodies were in contact. Thus, personal space is an essential aspect of nonverbal communication which may show a third party how two people relate.

Lastly, signals also display different messages depending on how they are used. Without words, deliberate gestures and signals are crucial for conveying meaning. Typical gestures are waving, pointing, and making the “thumbs up” sign. Other hand motions are arbitrary and cultural (Cherry, 2021). The passengers communicated to the flight attendants using sign language and sure unique signs they understood. The signals indicated when an individual wanted a drink or invited the attendant to come near so they could speak from a distance without shouting. Some gestures, such as thumbs up, were used to show approval or satisfaction. People may express a wide range of emotions and ideas via gestures, from hate and antagonism to admiration and tenderness, often in addition to spoken communication.

In conclusion, it is essential to understand different cues used in nonverbal communication and the messages they portray. The cues emphasize messages in verbal communications. Since most of them are involuntary, they can also show what an individual means and how they feel. Nonverbal communication is crucial because it reveals critical details about a situation, such as how someone may feel, how they process information, and how to approach an individual or group.


Cherry, K. (2021, July 28). Types of Nonverbal Communication. Verywell Mind.

Segerstrale, U., & Molnar, P. (2018). Nonverbal Communication. Routledge.


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