Nonverbal Communication

Unit Outcome: Analyze nonverbal messages and adapt those skills appropriately in various contexts. 

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before. It’s known that nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of meaning in any message. This unit will discuss the different types of nonverbal communication and interpretating meaning. We encounter nonverbal communication in every interaction, and knowing how to appropriately perceive nonverbals will help you understand messages better than listening to just words alone. For example, if you are in healthcare, you may have a patient who is unable to speak but is wincing. You can perceive that they are in pain, without any words exchanged.

Unit readings, videos and assignments are below.

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Define nonverbal communication
  • Identify the types of nonverbal communication
  • Explain what kind of meanings nonverbals can communicate
  • Adapt verbal and nonverbal communication to specific audiences



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