Non-Verbal Communication in Speeches

Human beings are living walking and talking messages. Even without speaking, a person is constantly communicating, through a series of bodily movements and other ques; whether they be doing it consciously or unintentionally (Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., Lewis, M., 2015). Non-verbal communication extends a wide variety of skills and processes that can be used in coherence, or instead of verbal communication (Deepika, 2015). When it comes to delivering a speech, a person’s non-verbal communication is crucial in identifying with the audience and making their point clear (Kadian-Baumeyer, 2016).

There are many types and subcategories of nonverbal communication, but examples recognised to be some of the most important in speechmaking include:

  • Body Language – A person’s body language can give great insight into their thoughts and psychological wellbeing. The study of bodily movements as they pertain to nonverbal communication is called kinesics (Hartman, 2004). Being able to recognise the meanings behind different gestures and stances is an invaluable skill for communicating effectively.Sign-language
  • Paralinguistics – Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that doesn’t classify as actual language. This includes things like tone of voice, inflection, volume and pitch (Cherry, 2015).
  • Facial Expressions – Facial expressions are responsible for a large percentage of non-verbal communication and often give away a person’s emotional state without their knowledge (Burke, 2016)


When performing a speech, whether it be to a small group or large audience, how a person uses both their verbal and non-verbal communication skills in coherence can greatly affect the way the audience perceives their words (Kadian-Baumeyer, 2016). Body movements alone tells the audience almost as much as the actual words. The speaker often has all eyes focused on them, and even small indications of body language can affect the context of speech (Kadian-Baumeyer, 2016). The difference between a good speech and a great one is the way the speaker presents him/herself on stage. Strong body language, controlled tone and pitch, facial expressions and countless other small nonverbal messages are all required to deliver a good speech.

Newspaper article, The Wall Street Journal, The power of non-verbal communication:



Andrews University, 2016, Non-Verbal Communication Modes, [online]. Available at:

Burke, C. 2016, Public Speaking Tips: Body Language 5 – FACIAL EXPRESSIONS, [online]. Available at:

Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., Lewis, M. 2015, Communication Skills for Business Professionals, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Vic. Pp362-368

Cherry, K. 2015, Types of Nonverbal Communication, [online]. Available at:

Deepika, P. 2015, The Importance of Non-Verbal Communication, [online]. Available at: 

Hartman, N. 2004, NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION, [online]. Available at:

Kadian-Baumeyer, K. 2016, The Role of Nonverbal Communication during Speech Delivery, [online]. Available at:

Media References (Chronological order):



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