Nonverbal Communication

Order Instructions/Description

This assignment has three parts. Read these directions prior to starting the assignment.

1 . The first step in this assignment is to learn about examples of nonverbal communication. There is no formal paper to turn in for this part of the homework, but you should be prepared explain and provide examples of nonverbal communication during a quiz next class. The link below is a short video explaining nonverbal communication and the transcript to this video is also available in D2L for you to review.


2 . The second step in this assignment is to develop and conduct a short survey to help collect data for your water footprint project. You will be interviewing 4 different people, and your goal should be to interview 2 people from one demographic and 2 people from a different demographic (male versus female, on-campus versus off-campus, freshman versus seniors, etc.). Two common forms of survey questions are Closed-Ended and Open-Ended. Closed-Ended Questions are good for generating quantitative data (data with numbers), where you would have a list of possible choices for the person being interviewed. For example, ‘How many times a week do you do use a dishwasher? 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.’ If your goal is to learn more about the specific indirect water usages at home by an individual this would be a great way to generate data. For this assignment, you will be developing Open-Ended Questions. Open-Ended Questions allow for individuals to ‘openly’ answer a question without being limited to categories. The information generated is often considered to be qualitative data, and will require your interpretation. For example, ‘How many times a week do you use the dishwater?’ Notice the same question was asked, but the difference is that you did not limit the responses to a defined set of possible answers. Your goal is to develop 5 Open-Ended Questions, which will help you collect information for your water footprint calculator. Another way to think about this is to conduct a short interview where the person you are interviewing is the one helping with the brainstorming process. Just as you brainstormed the typical meals a college student will eat throughout the day, use this assignment to gather information about the other main categories of water use (Home, Diet, Energy, etc.).

3 . The final step of this assignment is to write down the 5 Open-Ended Questions, describe the two demographics interviewed, and also write a short 500 to 800-word reflection essay of the experience. These should be submitted on the same piece of paper, and you may hand-write or type your work. But, it must be your own and in your own words. When conducting your interviews, practice using forms of nonverbal communication. Your reflection essay should include the following:

reflects on the interview process and your role as the interviewer. What did you take into consideration about the nonverbal aspects of the interview? What worked, what didn’t, and how would/did you change it?

describes an instance where you used an interview strategy (verbal or nonverbal) to conduct or continue the interview. Remember that this is intended to be a learning process for you, as well as generate information from the persons being interviewed.

Discusses any differences when interviewing different demographics. Describes how you might modify your personal nonverbal communication skills if you were to conduct another series of interviews to a different demographic or target audience. Imagine asking the same questions to grandparents! Are the same nonverbal techniques useful for every audience? Are there nonverbal techniques that would be more appropriate?

  • A grading rubric, which will be used to evaluate your questions and explanatory essay, is provided on the second page of this file. Review this rubric before submitting your final work.


Learning Goal: 4.1 Communication

Dimension: Identifies how contexts affect communication strategies and practices.




Interview questions were provided

0 points: No questions were provided.

1 point: for including the two different demographics interviewed.

2 points: Also, the 5 questions relating to the water footprint categories were provided.


Student’s Role as Interviewer

0 points: Does not reflect on role as interviewer.

2 point: Describes his/her role as interviewer.

4 points: Describes what was taken into consideration about the nonverbal aspects of the interview.

6 points: Also, reflects on what worked/did not work with regard to the interview.


Interview strategies

0 points: Does not mention interview strategies.

2 point: Describes one nonverbal technique used during the interview process.

4 points: Describes at least two nonverbal techniques used during the interview process.

6 points: Describes at least three nonverbal techniques used during the interview process.


Modifying/Improving nonverbal communication

0 points: Does not mention how nonverbal skills would be improved or modified for another demographic.

2 point: Mentions that nonverbal skills might be or might not be modified for another demographic.

4 points: Mentions why nonverbal skills might be or might not be modified for another demographic.

6 points: Also, provides a specific example of a nonverbal technique that might work well for a specific demographic. If your position is that they should all be used all the time then specifically address why.


Total: /20

Transcript: 8 Types of Nonverbal Communication


Facial Expression

Facial expression is one type of nonverbal communication that is nearly universal in meaning. Though different cultures generally ascribe different meanings to various types of nonverbal communication, the meanings attributed to certain facial expressions, like the smile or the frown, remain quite similar throughout the world. For example, a downcast look in New York will be a downcast look in Moscow. A smile in Belize will signal happiness or joy just as it would in Barcelona.


Hand gestures are a vitally important type of nonverbal communication that take on various meanings as you navigate the world’s cultures. One might immediately think of waving, giving a peace sign or a thumb’s up. One might see a raised index finger to signal that a person’s team is “Number One.” Politicians will use specially designed gestures to emphasize points.


Paralinguistics simply means a type of vocal communication without the use of language. This includes voice inflection, pitch, rhythm, loudness, and tone. A slow rhythm and hushed tone might signify gentleness or concern, while heavy pitch and rising inflection might be attributed to anger or enthusiasm.

Body Language

Though body language and posture can be quite subtle, it can have an enormous impact on communication. Crossed-arms might signify a closed-off or defensive attitude. Slumped shoulders and excessive leaning might signify boredom. Again, these cues are subtle but powerful.


Proxemics refers to personal space. Different individuals prefer different distances when it comes to speaking with others. Obviously, standing too close to someone while she or he is talking might bring about feelings of discomfort or annoyance. When speaking to groups, individuals tend to need larger distances in order to feel heard.

Eye Gaze

Eye gazing is a fascinating type of nonverbal communication. For example, the rate of blinking might actually increase and the pupils dilate when friends or loved ones are encountered. This goes for interesting objects as well. The eyes react very differently to outside stimulus depending on personal interpretation.


Haptics simply refers to communicating through touch. Touching is used to signify love, affection, and familiarity. It might also be employed in times of stress or sadness when comfort is needed. The force of a handshake might signify extra enthusiasm between close friends while a firm, standard grip might be more appropriate for a professional introduction.


Appearance is a very important type of non-verbal communication. Physical appearance, including clothing style and neatness, is the first thing people see when encountering one another. Studies in the area of color psychology suggest that the colors of clothing can have big effects on mood and attitude. People make quick judgments of character according to dress and appearance.