Barriers of Non-verbal Communication (+9 Types)

In this article, we will look at the barriers of non-verbal communication and how they can impede communication. This article also looks at the main types of non-verbal communication, and why non-verbal communication matters so much.

Barriers of Non-verbal Communication 

Nonverbal communication is almost as vital as verbal communication because humans respond to what they can see (remember, seeing is believing) more than what they hear. To improve your non-verbal communication abilities, it’s important to determine the barriers to your nonverbal communication.

Here are a few barriers of non-verbal communication:

  • Silence
  • Paralanguage
  • Body Language
  • Facial Expression


This lack of expression communicates a message to the recipient, that can form a communication barrier between them. Silence is also used as a deterrent to reject and dismiss another person’s communication requirements, or it can be utilised to encourage communication.

Silence, when utilised correctly, can assist you as well as the other person in thinking through the messages being delivered and how to react accordingly. The combination of a person’s facial expressions and silence will help to clarify the message being communicated.


When making a statement verbally, paralanguage refers to how inflections are used. Whenever paralanguage is misinterpreted or improperly employed, it presents a nonverbal communication barrier. This could be an individual’s tone, pitch, or loudness that causes the words to be defined in one way or the other.

For example, someone could say, “Get out of here,” which, based on how it was delivered, may signify either that the person is unhappy or that they are expressing awe. When someone is speaking but mumbling or talking extremely softly, you might assume they are uninterested in what they are talking about or that they are shy and afraid

Body Language

Body language can become a barrier to communication. Body language that ends up creating a barrier of non-verbal communication includes a person’s head lowered, arms crossed, or turning their back towards you. 

Body language can be used to communicate that you don’t give a damn, don’t really want to speak, or are upset. It’s like you give a message with your physical body. This could be in the form of a stance, a sign made with your hands, or a posture.

Facial Expression

Whenever there is uneasiness or anxiety engaged in the communication, a person’s facial expression might serve as a barrier. It’s easy to misread and misunderstand facial expressions.

If you’re telling somebody something extremely emotional and they don’t show any facial expressions, you may assume they aren’t listening, causing you to shut out your emotions and abandon the discussion.

Types of Non-verbal Communication

Facial Expressions

A large amount of nonverbal communication is relayed through facial expressions. Take into account how much information a smile or a scowl may communicate. Well before we hear what someone has to say, the expression on a person’s face is generally the very first thing we notice.

Although nonverbal communication and behaviour might differ significantly across cultures, the facial expressions for sadness, happiness, anger, and fear are universal.

Eye Gaze

Nonverbal communication relies heavily on the eyes, and nonverbal activities like glancing, glaring, and blinking are common. Whenever people come across individuals or things they love, their blinking rate rises and their pupils dilate. Looking at someone else can convey a variety of feelings, including animosity, curiosity, and desire.

Humans also use eye gaze to judge whether or not someone is telling the truth. Normal, sustained eye contact is frequently interpreted as an indication that someone is speaking the truth and can be trusted. Dodgy eyes and an inability to sustain eye contact, on the other side, are often interpreted as signs of deception or lying.


Without using words, purposeful movements and gestures are a vital way to transmit meaning. Waving, pointing, and using fingers to signify numerical quantities are all frequent gestures. Other gestures are random and culturally based.

People may use a variety of nonverbal signals to try to alter others’ views. An attorney might, for instance, glance at his wristwatch to imply that the opposing lawyer’s case is tedious, or he can even roll his eyes at a witness’s testimony in an attempt to sabotage his or her credence.


Vocal communication that is distinct from actual language is referred to as paralinguistics. This involves areas like tone of voice, volume, inflection, and intonation.

Consider how important tone of voice is in determining the substance of a sentence Listeners may understand praise and enthusiasm when spoken in a vigorous tone. The very same words spoken in a cautious tone could be interpreted as disdain and disinterest.

Consider how adjusting your tone can alter the interpretation of a sentence in a variety of ways. When a pal asks how you’re doing, you could reply with the conventional “I’m okay,” but the way you utter those words can speak volumes about how you’re truly feeling.

A cold tone may imply that you aren’t feeling okay, but you don’t want to talk about it. A cheerful, upbeat tone will indicate that you are doing pretty well. A solemn, downcast tone suggests that you are anything but fine, and that your friend should probe deeper.


People frequently express their desire for “personal space,” which is a form of nonverbal communication. Social conventions, cultural standards, contextual considerations, personal traits, and degree of familiarity all determine the amount of space we require and the amount of space we feel belongs to us.

Body Language and Posture

Your body language and posture can also reveal a plethora of information. The over interpretation of protective postures like arm-crossing, and leg-crossing has received a lot of attention throughout the media. While nonverbal gestures such as these can reveal emotions and attitudes, research reveals that body language is significantly more subtle and far less conclusive than thought previously.


Another major type of nonverbal communication is communication by touch. The significance of touch in prenatal development has been the subject of extensive research.

The classic monkey study by Harry Harlow revealed how development is adversely affected by a lack of touch and physical contact. Baby monkeys brought up by wire mothers developed irreversible behavioural and social interaction deficits. Touch can convey affection, connectedness, compassion, and a variety of other feelings.

Researchers discovered that individuals with a higher status infiltrate other people’s personal space more frequently and intensely than lower ranked people. Distinctions in how individuals use touch for communicating meaning are also influenced by gender.

Interestingly, touch is a common way for women to express care, concern, and nurturing, whereas, touch is more commonly used by men to assert dominance or authority over another.


Cultural and conventional standards of time commitment (or ignorance) influence how conscious you will be of time. Several people, as well as the social groups they represent, are extremely fixated on timeliness and are very punctual, other cultures may have a more relaxed perception of time.

Is your audience required to await you when you give a talk? In your talk, time is a critical aspect of the process of communication. Honoring the time constraint linked with your talk is the finest approach to show the listeners respect.

Also try to end talking well before the audience stops paying attention; if they think you’ve “went over time,” they’ll be less eager to pay attention. As a result, your power to convey your ideas will be compromised.


In this article, we will look at the barriers of non-verbal communication and how they can impede communication. This article also looks at the main types of non-verbal communication, and why non-verbal communication matters so much.

Frequently Asked Questions: Barriers of Non-verbal Communication

How can we overcome barriers to non-verbal communication?

You can use these tips to overcome barriers to non-verbal communication:

Give importance to what the other person is saying
Establish a comfortable level of eye contact
Keep your body in an open position
Sit beside the person, tilted toward them instead of exactly across from them

Which is the most accurate statement about nonverbal communication?

Nonverbal communication refers to the actions that an individual performs with their body. The biggest indicator of a speaker’s actual feelings is frequently their eyes. Whenever nonverbal and verbal information clashes, recipients trust verbal signals more.

What is nonverbal communication examples?

Body language, such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and more, is used in nonverbal communication to convey information. Whenever you approach somebody, for instance, smiling shows friendliness, welcome, and openness. Everyone, whether they realise it or not, engages in nonverbal communication on a daily basis.

What percent of human communication is nonverbal?

70-93% of human communication is non-verbal.

A lot of research have been conducted on the complicated subject of nonverbal communication, with diverse outcomes. Nevertheless, most experts believe that nonverbal communication accounts for 70 to 93 percent of all communication. Dr. Mehrabian headed the most well known nonverbal communication research initiatives in the 1960s.

What is Proxemics nonverbal communication?

Proxemics is a non-verbal communication theory that describes how individuals understand and utilize space to communicate. According to Hall, much as animals use urine and bodily posture to mark their territory, humans utilise private space and tangible items to accomplish the same.

Where is nonverbal communication used?

Nonverbal communication is used to supplement verbal communication. When anyone asks you a question, rather than responding with a verbal “yes” and a nod of the head, you can merely nod your head without saying anything and convey your message.


Types of Nonverbal Communication

Types of Nonverbal Communication

Non-Verbal Barriers to Communication

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