Non-verbal communication is what is communicated without using words. It is more important than verbal communication as more than 90% of communication occurs through it. It is about what we see and feel rather than what we hear.
You can tell if a person is happy or sad or angry or worried by looking at their expressions and movements. Body language communicates feelings and attitude which helps people form judgments, assumptions and decisions.
When you are not aware of yours and the message receiver’s non-verbal communication cues, you or the person might get what is not the intended meaning of message creating a misunderstanding.
While communicating non-verbally, it is important for both the parties to understand the cues to avoid any kind of misunderstandings.
Many exercises have been designed to help people understand the meaning and importance of non-verbal communication. Some of these exercises are as follows.
Activity 1: Guess the movie game
- Make two teams.
- One team should think of a movie name and whisper it to a member of another team.
- The member who listened to the name of the movie has to act out words without speaking. The player can either act out the movie name or scenes from that movie in ways that his/her team recognizes the movie.
- Once the team recognizes the movie, it is the turn of next team to send a member to another team to listen to the name of a movie.
- It will also become the next team’s turn to guess the movie name even if the opposing team gives up.
- The cycle continues with one member being sent to the other team to listen and act, and his/her group recognizing the name.
Activity 2: Opposite expressions
- A script will be given to an individual.
- The person must read out the script but with opposite emotions as expressed in the dialogs.
- For example, if the person is supposed to be laughing according to the script, the person must speak out the dialog with sad or angry expressions.
Although this game involves speaking, it is considered a non-verbal game as it is expressions and moods that people have to describe. A person who is good at reading expressions, gestures, and moods of another person would be able to perform better in this game.
Activity 3: Paper strip acting
- Make paper strips and divide them equally into two parts.
- Write a dialog in each paper strip of one set and put it in a bowl.
- Write moods or dispositions in another set of paper strips and put it in another bowl too.
- Each person has to get one paper strip from each bowel and use as prompts.
- Firstly they have to say the dialog out loud in front of all in the mood written in another strip.
- Then they again have to say it without any expressions (poker face).
- The audiences have to guess the mood in which the dialog is being said and write it down each time.
This game also involves speaking, yet considered to be a non-verbal game as it is once again expressions and moods that you have to recognize.
Activity 4: Make a silent movie
- People involved will be divided into groups.
- They have to write a screenplay for a silent movie and assign actors for roles. There must be a story in which a problem is solved and actors must express the script without words.
- Each group gets turns to perform and observe others acting.
Activity 5: Follow the leader
- Choose a leader.
- The leader gives signals and others follow.
- Everybody must follow what the leader signals without speaking.
- People who make mistakes are disqualified and has to stop playing.
- Leaders change after each turn. The first leader can appoint the next leader and gestures must be used for choosing leaders.
- The process continues till a single person is left who is the winner.
Activity 6: Draw and explain
- Get divided into groups.
- Each group has to make a drawing.
- Another group has to interpret what the drawing intends to mean.
- Each group draws and interprets some other groups’ work.
Activity 7: Introduce your friend
- All the people of the group must pair with another person.
- They will tell their names and introduce themselves to each other but not others.
- In front of all others, both are supposed to introduce their partner without words.
- Other participants will try to guess the name.
Activity 8: Catching a chicken
- Ask for four volunteers and send them out of the room.
- Audiences know what is going to happen and the volunteers have to act like catching a chicken.
- Call one volunteer in at a time after telling them what they are supposed to do.
- The volunteer is supposed to show the act of catching a chicken.
- Make the person act it out in front of the audience.
- Call other volunteers one by one and tell him/her to repeat what the first volunteer is doing.
- The last volunteer is supposed to guess what he/she thinks that others were doing.
- Second-last volunteer must answer what he/she thinks and then comes the third person from the last arrival.
- At last the first person will reveal what he/she was doing.
- Then tell them the importance of non-verbal communication in brief.
Activity 9: Guess dialogs from silent movie
- Show a silent movie to a group.
- Make individuals come in front of the group and try to guess a dialog for it.
- The audience will vote if it is good.
Activity 10: Copycat
- Make all the people stand in a circle.
- Take a volunteer and send him/her out for a minute.
- Make a person a leader unanimously with non-verbal cues (without words).
- The leader has to keep changing the actions without letting the volunteer know that he/she is the leader. All members follow and copy what the leader is doing.
- All leaders must follow and copy the leader discreetly.
- The volunteer goes to the center of the circle and has to guess who the leader is.
- If the person finds out the leader he/she wins.