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Nonverbal Communication Skills - Paralanguage
Written by Ken Rutledge   
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Types of Nonverbal Communication


Nonverbal communication is anything outside of words that can provide or indicate information through other senses.  These types of nonverbal sensory cues are classified as Paralanguage.  Paralanguage consists of all the sound levels, tone variations and inflections that you use; how fast you speak, how loud you speak and how often you use fillers “uh,’’ “um” or “you know what I mean?” 

Paralanguage contributes significantly to the message that others receive from the deliverer.  People who consistently speak too loudly are perceived as aggressive or overbearing, while people who speak too softly are believed to be shy and timid.  Those individuals, who speak fast, are generally viewed as competent and eager while those who speak slowly can potentially convey dim-wittedness, caution, or lack of interest.  The use of too many filler words projects that the speaker is unprepared or not knowledgeable.  The overall quality of your own use of paralanguage will rely on your ability to balance each of these nonverbal indicators and your ability to manipulate them to get the results you need from those to whom you are communicating.


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