How do we communicate without using words?

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Nonverbal communication involves facial expressions and body language. Body language includes posture and gestures. We communicate so much, often without knowing we are saying anything at all. Even when we use words, it's not just the words we say that matter- it's the tone of our voice too.
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"Body language" is the current number one explanation for non-verbal communication. I'm sure you've been exposed to some of the theory: folded arms means you're closed to friendly advances (or that you are being determined or have a shoulder injury ...); toes pointing at someone means you like them (or that your foot keeps hitting the wall or table leg or that your reclining and twisted in your seat ...); etc. The hippies used to talk of non-verbal communication through "vibrations" (e.g., Those are good vibes, man). Now that science has verified that everything living (and non-living) emits an electro-magnetic energy field, some are once again talking about communication through vibrations, but this time it is electromagnetic wave-length frequency vibrations.

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We say a lot through our eyes to those who can read us. My mother can tell my emotional state without words or touch just by looking into my eyes. Involuntary gestures give us away too.

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I have to disagree with post 6 about sign-language.  Usually, sign-language is considered a form of verbal communication.  The signs represent specific words or grammatical concepts.  It does use words and has it's own distinct language rules, dialects, etc.  In most places, it is recognized as an official language. 

On the other hand, mwestwood might have been referring to causal gestures.  I would agree that we can often use our hands to communicate.  For instance, a wave is a casual gesture that most people understand the meaning of instantly.  I find it interesting to compare the casual gestures of one culture to another.  I remember learning it Japanese class that the wave Americans consider to mean "hello" or "good-bye" looks the same as the wave Japanese consider to mean "come here."

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If anyone has a pet for long, he or she understands how effective non-verbal communication can be.  Not only do pets communicate efficiently without saying a word, but they can actually become manipulative, much to the owners embarrassment.

Sign-language is another human form of communicating effectively without using words.

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Art provides another medium for non-verbal communication. Paintings can convey emotions based on use of color and form as well as whatever might actually be represented. Sculpture can be inviting or threatening. Music is a powerful means of conveying feelings - think about the background music in any movie you've ever watched. It's easy to know when the "bad guy" is approaching, even with your eyes closed!

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To be really obvious, we can use touch to communicate.  When we punch someone, we communicate hatred.  When we hug them, we communicate affection.

On a more subtle note, we can communicate with our body language.  We can shrink away from people that we do not feel comfortable with.  This communicates our unease in their presence.  My students for a few years would laugh at me because whenever a certain teacher came into my room to talk to me or a student, I would physically move away from her, stand farther away and then lean away as well.  I really did not like her and this communicated itself to my students, who thought it was very funny.

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Another way we communicate without words is by the intentional use of silence.  Perhaps we screen the calls of people we are angry with; perhaps we stare across the table in stony silence during a big fight; perhaps we "give a cold shoulder" to a friend who has hurt our feelings.  All of this silence communicates our anger or frustration.  We could also use silence to communicate patience.  We can wait in silence for a friend or a child to find the words to talk to us, rather than just filling the silence with words for them.

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The most common way to communicate without using words is through the use of non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication takes facial expressions and looks at the meaning transferred through their use.

For example, one may be answering "yes" to being asked to do a favor but the way their face answers is completely different. They may be showing worry, exasperation, or anger (in regard to the expression on their face) even though their words are telling a very different story.

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