#Online Education
28 January 21

Understanding the Core of Non-Verbal Emotions


In the current era, where emotional intelligence has positioned itself as one of the most demanding soft skills, both personally and professionally, there is a need to understand the core of non-verbal emotions. 

Non-verbal emotions are illustration of non-verbal communication like facial expressions, posture, gestures, and touch. These characteristics are unconscious language of human body that creates an agreement between the message intended to deliver by the sender and the message actually achieved by the receiver. Depending on what message is interpreted and received by the receiver, it brings different outcomes like fear, anxiety, apathy, trust, confusion, and many similar emotions. Here emotional intelligence or EQ comes to picture with our ability to identify, use, and manage our non-verbal emotions. To be precise, the non-verbal messages we deliver defining our EQ (Emotional Quotient). 

Going by the understanding and research of communication experts, there is a predominant presence of non-verbal emotions in every attempt of our communication. We generally respond to thousands of nonverbal cues in our daily lives. Some of the most common non-verbal types of communication that traverse seamlessly with our level of emotional intelligence include: 

Facial Expressions:

A large proportion of nonverbal communication is transmitted through facial expression. The way a person smiles or the way he frowns, looks, and behaves can be major cues to a specific information. 


  • 1. Maintaining constant eye contact with the speaker or listener portrays interest and confidence. On the other hand, if we avoid eye contact, it is clear that we lack confidence or interest in the communication
  • 2. Frowning is a sign of stress, anxiety or frustration, and sends out clear message that we are cold and unapproachable for the time being
  • 3. A rigid smile can be the sign of disapproval in a respectful manner, while a soft smile is more encouraging
  • 4. Raised eyebrows is a sign of sarcasm, surprise or mockery


People often put to use certain gestures like waving, pin pointing, rubbing hands, and nodding head unknowingly. However, these gestures deliver different meanings across different cultures. Hence, it is important to understand how gestures are interpreted. 


  • 1. Shrugging away is often considered a sign of disinterest
  • 2. Rubbing both hands together indicates excitement or eagerness to engage in some activity
  • 3. Rubbing the back of our ear or the neck can be the sign of lack of confidence or discomfort
  • 4. When a person is angry, he often clenches his fist to control the anger or prepare for some physical attack

Posture and Body Language:

Posture and Body language are probably the most common stimuli of nonverbal communication.

The way we move, the way we present our posture can reveal a good deal of information about us. 


  • 1. Fiddling constantly with anything that is in sight demonstrates frustration, anxiety, lack of interest, boredom, or restlessness.
  • 2. Standing or sitting straight portrays confidence and interested, but if we slouch, it shows low self-esteem or lack of confidence
  • 3. Standing with the hands crossed behind with strong facial expressions, may reflect our frustration or anger that we are trying to control
  • 4. If we keep the shoulders rigid, it may be a sign of unapproachable, and affects people attracted to us


Touch is one of the most common and significant type of non-verbal communication. There is a great deal communication done through various forms of touch. 


  • 1. A pat on the back at office may indicate liking or appreciation for work
  • 2. A warm hug demonstrates a reassuring effect
  • 3. Firm handshake portrays confidence in a person, while a loose one shows disinterest or lack of confidence
  • 4. When a person holds our arms to say something, it may reflect that the person is in control or trying to make a statement

The scope of nonverbal communication is vast, and so is the intersection between non-verbal emotions and emotional intelligence. Hence, it is important we stay aware of our non-verbal emotions; identify and manage the same to have higher emotional intelligence and gain a stronger position in the competitive job space.