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NonVerbal Components of Communication

In contemporary research, it has been estimated that at least sixtyfive percent of communication between people is expressed through nonverbal messages. Research further indicates that there are at least nine components of communication that are expressive in a nonverbal manner, leading to increased difficulties in understanding and explaining communication. These components include: the human body, in that physical characteristics often convey a message; kinesics, the language of body position and movement; the eyes, their contact and use; paralanguage, those voice qualities and characteristics that accompany spoken words; silence; tacesics and stroking, the language of touch and its substitutes; proxemics, the way that humans use space to communicate; chronemics, time in both its cultural and physiological dimensions; and color.1

This paper will examine both the verbal and nonverbal barriers to communication, and will focus on the way each affects the process of listening. This will be presented in four parts; a review of the literature on the subject, an interview conducted by this author, an explanations of the results of the interview as compared to the literature in the

1 Marjorie Fink Vargas, Louder Than Words, (Ames: The Iowa State University Press, 1986), 1011.

field, and conclusions and recommendations for further research.

Within the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in empirical attention within the field of listening and nonverbal communication.2 In part, this may be due to not only the recognition, but the popular realization that nonverbal behaviors account for a substantial portion of communication between human beings, particularly as related to the process of listening. Indeed, other authors point out that nonverbal behavior and listening are both important indicators of thought, emotion, attitude, and socialization.3

Strictly speaking, however, language barriers may indi...

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NonVerbal Components of Communication. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:15, October 01, 2014, from