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Nonverbal Communication

The term nonverbal communication refers to communication effected by means other than words, for example, eye contact, facial expression, or gesture. These nonverbal behaviors can express meaning, and when they do so, they create nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal communication is carried out with varying degrees of control and awareness. When someone gives a thumbs-up gesture or winks, that person is more than likely doing so consciously, having planned to communicate a particular meaning. But nervous mannerisms and unguarded facial expressions usually happen outside a person’s awareness and control, even though they can also communicate meaning. When awareness and control are high, as in the first example, the nonverbal behavior is done with intention, and so this kind of communication is referred to as intentional.

Intentional communication is when ...

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