Advantages And Disadvantages Of Non-Verbal Communication With Examples

Explore the advantages and disadvantages of non-verbal communication with examples and its types in addition to the challenges one can face while communicating non-verbally.

What is non-verbal communication?

Non-verbal communication is communication carried out without using words or as non-verbal behavior. Nonverbal communication involves facial expression, voice tone, pitch, body language, gestures, silence, posture, eye contact, touching, etc. Sometimes it is also called “silent language”.

This method of communication is used in combination with verbal communication, and together they assist to understand the true meaning of messages. However, there are many benefits and limitations of nonverbal communication.

13 Advantages and disadvantages of non-verbal communication

Signals and cues play a vital role in communication, yet there are some pros and cons of non-verbal communication.

The advantages of non-verbal communication are as follows:

1) Easily adaptable: Non-verbal communication is the easiest mode of communication. As it uses gestures and other nonverbal cues, it helps to present ideas in a simple and effective manner. Also, information can also be delivered by simply using visual, audiovisual, and silent techniques.

2) Appealing presentation: Non-verbal communication is more or less like visual communication, as it focuses on visuals like pictures, graphs, signs, and other aspects that are highly appealing. Adding such visuals while expressing one’s ideas helps to make a stronger impact, making the presentation appealing and noticeable.

Related Reading: Advantages and disadvantages of visual communication

3) Builds connections and trust: Effective nonverbal communication helps to build connections and develop trust and likelihood towards one another. It can develop relationships and strengthen the bond between individuals. As it helps people to feel more connected by creating a sense of understanding and comfort.

4) Faster communication: Nonverbal communication signals, such as signs and symbols, can also express some messages faster than oral or written communication. Also, non-verbal communication is faster than verbal communication because signals like body language and posture convey information. in less time with minimal effort.  

Related Reading: Advantages and limitations of written communication

5) Enhances verbal communication: Non-verbal signs strengthen the impact of a spoken statement. People pay more attention to nonverbal cues like facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language in nonverbal communication. So they are more likely to understand what one is saying rather than just verbal or nonverbal communication. 

6) Efficiency and reliability: Non-Verbal Cues are the most effective means of verifying the authenticity and reality of a message. By paying attention to nonverbal signals, people can better understand the message and even protect themselves from deception. 

7) Accenting: This is a technique used to highlight a verbal message. In this, the true meaning of the words is conveyed through actions that accent the spoken statement. As it is used to emphasize a major aspect of the message, it helps the receiver understand the communicator’s true feelings.  Example: stamping, moving ahead, easing off, or backing off.

8) Conveys emotion: Nonverbal communication expresses emotion and sentiments, sometimes knowingly and many times unknowingly. The visual signals show how a person feels about the discussion, expressing their emotions. It is also helpful in difficult situations to verbally communicate feelings, such as in business meetings or while speaking to strangers.

9) Creates interactive experience: Interactive experience is a great benefit of nonverbal communication it helps to create a more engaging environment. As people engage in non-verbal cues, it accurately shows how people feel about the interactions. The exchange of these signals keeps the conversation going. 

10) Overcoming barriers: Nonverbal communication helps overcome cultural obstacles. It also improves clarity in communication, especially when speaking to people from different languages. With the rise of social media, nonverbal communication is becoming more accessible and connected.

11) Replacing verbal mode: Non-verbal communication can replace a verbal message, especially when it is interrupted by noise, distraction, or a long distance. For example, gestures like a waving hand signal saying goodbye, and facial expressions like a nod instead of a yes.

12) Helps people with disabilities: Non-verbal communication greatly aids specially-abled people. People with impairments, especially the deaf, often benefit from nonverbal indications of communication. These people use their hands, eyes, fingers, and other body parts to communicate.

The disadvantages of non-verbal communication are as follows:

1) Tough to understand: Being tough to understand is one of the major disadvantages of nonverbal communication. Transparency and a similar understanding of nonverbal cues help to comprehend a message. But It may be difficult for some people to comprehend the meaning of non-verbal signals, as it uses gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touching, etc. to communicate with others.

2) Unclear and subjective: Nonverbal communication is generally unclear as no words or other forms of language are used in this communication. Also, the meaning of visual communication varies depending on culture, situation, and degree of intention.

3) Multi-channel: There are different forms of nonverbal communication like eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, body language, and more. As multiple cues happen at the same time, such as eye movement and hand gestures, one may overlook some of these signals. Therefore It is difficult to keep a track of the cues which helps to understand if the other person is interested in the communication or not.  

4) Continuous flow: While verbal communication can be stopped, nonverbal signals are usually impossible to stop. Also, oral communication has a structure that makes it simpler to detect changes in topics like syntax. Such analysis could work better with nonverbal communication.

Related Reading: What are the advantages and limitations of oral communication explained with examples

5) Information distortion: As nonverbal communication relies on gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, sign language, etc, there is a strong chance that the information being conveyed might be inaccurate.

6) Unsuitable for long conversations: Lengthy talks are not possible with non-verbal communication, especially when important discussions are needed to be made. Moreover, non-verbal communication is limited to what one wants to say at the time, and one cannot keep up with a conversation between two individuals.

7) Ambiguity: If the sender uses unclear or unfamiliar nonverbal clues, the receiver may misinterpret the message’s meaning. As a result, they might not be able to communicate with one another.

8) Insufficient Communication: Nonverbal communication is often employed to supplement verbal communication. When done alone, it has absolutely no impact.  As nonverbal communication does not allow for questions or comments to be clarified, it is challenging to convey complicated concepts properly. 

9) Feedback issue: Speaking and giving feedback in the communication process is necessary. If the recipient misunderstands or misinterprets the message’s meaning, nonverbal communication may lead to a distinct impression. If the sender and receiver are from different cultures, the issue may get much more difficult. 

10) Difficulty to express complex thoughts: Complex concepts are sometimes difficult to explain through nonverbal communication. Unlike verbal communication, nonverbal communication lacks the norms, formality, and structure of verbal communication. Most of the time, people use nonverbal communication unintentionally and often by moving different body parts.

11) Lack of accountability: When communicating nonverbally, holding others responsible for their actions might be challenging. For example, if someone is unpleasant to another person nonverbally, such as by rolling their eyes or making a face, it might be difficult to establish that they were impolite.

12) Culture-bound: Nonverbal communication is a skill that is learned early in life and passed on to children by parents and others. Some gestures are common and shared by everyone. All humans, regardless of culture, tend to smile when pleased and frown when sad. Yet, compared to verbal language, the meaning of nonverbal signals differs from culture to culture. Gestures that are considered acceptable in one culture (such as the thumbs-up gesture in the United States) may be considered obscene in another.

13) Not everyone prefers: Everyone does not prefer to interact with people through nonverbal means. It sometimes fails to leave an effect on viewers or listeners. Also, it can’t be used everywhere and has little influence. It cannot be used as a communication tool for the wider public.

Examples of Non-Verbal communication

There are many ways we use Non-verbal communication in our daily lives to communicate. Let’s look at some of the most common examples of non-verbal communication. 

  • Many times we nod our heads for saying “Yes” or agreeing to a statement.
  • Patting someone on the back for appreciating his or her work.
  • Giving high five to others for demonstrating happiness.
  • Waving hands for saying goodbye to people.
  • Showing disinterest in conversation while not maintaining eye contact.
  • Making a handshake for mutual agreement.
  • A warm hug for demonstrating happiness and emotions.

Types of non-verbal communication 

Illustration-of-non-verbal communication-types
Illustration representing types of non-verbal communication with demo pictures


1) Facial Expressions: The first thing people notice about someone is their expression. A person’s expression-smile, frown, or grimace – tells a lot about how they are feeling and how the discussion will proceed. Emotions of joy, sorrow, wrath, and fear are universal emotions and essential methods of nonverbal communication.

2) Gestures: There are different kinds of gestures. Some of them, like pointing or waving, are intentional while others are not. For instance, there are adaptive signals like touching body parts, touching rings, clicking pens, etc. When someone is in distress, they usually show them. During a presentation, some presenters use gestures.

3) Position and gestures: Body language includes crossing the legs or arms, nodding one’s head, slouching, or sitting up straight. Nonetheless, this form of nonverbal communication is complicated and quite subtle. People don’t automatically comprehend a movement’s significance just because they watch it.

Challenges with non-verbal communication

Illustrations of three different challenges occurred through non-verbal communication


1) Making eye contact: In the West, making eye contact conveys confidence; but, in some regions of Asia and the Middle East, it might be perceived as disrespectful or demanding. Eye contact is also limited by gender, with many Eastern cultures limiting women from initiating it with males since it suggests power or desirability.

2) Multiple meanings of gestures: Hand signals are used for multiple purposes worldwide. For instance, throughout most of the globe, pointing towards someone else is considered an insult; nevertheless, in some regions, it is frequently used just as a point of reference. Even a simple nod, which is the most typical gesture in the world, can have diverse cultural connotations.

3) Expressions on the Face: Facial emotions expressing joy, sorrow, wrath, and fear are universal. But not all cultures are comfortable with their use in professional settings. For example, the Japanese prefer to maintain a neutral facial expression as they believe that exhibiting emotions stresses the other person.

Importance of non-verbal communication

  • Builds connection and trust: Nonverbal communication helps people build connections and trust. By fostering a feeling of comfort and understanding, it promotes a closer sense of connection.
  • Makes a significant influence: Emotion and feeling are expressed non-verbally. It is useful to express sentiments vocally in challenging settings, such as chatting with strangers. The most reliable way to confirm a message’s actuality and validity is through nonverbal cues.
  • Enhance verbal communication: Nonverbal cues make a spoken statement more powerful. Nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language are more noticeable. So, as opposed to only verbal or nonverbal communication, they are more likely to comprehend what is being said.

Advantages and disadvantages of verbal communication

The advantages of verbal communication are:

1. Ease of preparation: Verbal communication is the simplest mode of communication since it requires fewer components of communication to convey the information. So, informal discussions are usually simple. The significant benefit of verbal communication is that the listener can ask questions and get answers right away, without waiting.

2. The most practical method: Verbal communication is the most common form of conversation worldwide. People favor verbal conversation over other forms of communication because it is more convenient. When speaking, people are more likely to communicate information quickly that is easy to read and comprehend.

The disadvantages of verbal communication are:

1. Misunderstanding: A vocal message needs to be delivered clearly and effectively to avoid errors and communication problems. Verbal communication can sometimes lead to confusion. If the ideas or thoughts are not expressed accurately, it may lead to misunderstanding.

2. Difficult for lengthy messages: Verbal communication is difficult for communicating lengthy passages because it can overlook crucial details and grow very lengthy, leading to misunderstanding or clear communication. 

Must Read: Check out our detailed article on what are the advantages and disadvantages of verbal communication

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1) What are the advantages and disadvantages of gestures? 

Ans: The advantages of gestures are that it helps to build trust, control emotions, and to increase vocal vibrations in communication. The disadvantage is that some people may not pick up these signals, creating misunderstanding.

Q2) What are the advantages and disadvantages of verbal and non-verbal communication? 

Ans: The advantages of verbal communication are flexibility, reliability, ease to understand, and a faster mode of communication. The disadvantages of verbal communication are misunderstanding, no time for rectification, and difficulty with lengthy messages.

 The advantages of nonverbal communication are easy presentation, enhancing verbal communication, and conveying emotions. The disadvantages of nonverbal communication are that it is difficult to understand, unclear and subjective, not suitable for long conversations, difficult to express complex thoughts, and lacks accountability.

Q3) Which of the following is a method of nonverbal communication?

Ans: Different methods of nonverbal communication are gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, appearance, touch, body language, and proximity. 

Aditya Soni

Aditya is the head of content at clearinfo and is responsible for improving the site's organic visibility. He is a certified SEO trainer and has worked with SaaS companies and startups to enhance their digital marketing presence. He is also an ahref fanboy. Click to connect with him on Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

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