Non-verbal Body Language Functions

What exactly is the point of non-verbal communication? What effect can it really have? Below are a few different functions that it can perform.

  • Accenting

Accenting is when you’re calling attention to a certain part of the message. When putting an accent on it, you’re creating emphasis and also making the item stand out more by amplifying it.

  • Moderating

With moderating, it is basically the complete opposite of accenting as it normally seeks to minimize the attention, to play down a certain point by removing emphasis and distorting or attenuating it in different ways in order to make it more difficult to understand.

  • Complementing

Complimenting is quite similar to accenting, but it covers a wider range of the message. Complementing will ensure that all speech is paralleled by a non-verbal communication which aligns with what is being said.

  • Substituting

Substituting is the replacement of a word with non-verbal language. Sometimes non-verbal language is just a better option. Some things are better left unsaid. Even just raising an eyebrow can speak volumes.

  • Contradicting

When it comes to contradiction, it is when a non-verbal message is sent, one that disagrees with what is being said. Often this is done deliberately to confuse others. Contradiction may also happen subconsciously when you are lying.

  • Regulating

Non-verbal language is very often used to send signals about speaking. A common use is around starting and ending speech. It could also be used to regulate the speech of others; this indicates that you want them to stop in order for you to speak.

  • Repeating

Often when you are repeating with a non-verbal signal, it’s much like accenting or complimenting, but with a delay in between the verbal and non-verbal communication. Repeating acts as a form of emphasis, same as with other forms of repetition.

  • Deceiving

Very often, non-verbal signals are used as a part of deceit or lying. This takes control and it is easy to send mixed messaged which signal deceit. There are more or less 600 muscles in the body and it is impossible to try and consciously control many of them.

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