Disadvantages of nonverbal communication

Each communication process has some advantages of nonverbal communication with some disadvantages of nonverbal communication is not an exception. Nonverbal communication has some important limitations which are discussed below:

  • Incomplete Communication: In most of the case nonverbal communication is used as complement to verbal communication. It is not effective at all when it takes place alone. So, nonverbal communication is an incomplete communication method.
  • Problem in Feedback: Nonverbal communication can produce different feedback if the receiver does not understand the message or misinterprets the meaning of the message. The situation may be further complicated if the sender and the receiver are from different culture.
  • Quite Inactive in some Areas: Nonverbal communication is not effective in some areas like telephone conversations, hide talking and so on.

Disadvantage of Nonverbal Communication

  • No or Less Effect after the Occurrence: Nonverbal communication has strong instant and inherent effect but lacks in producing after effect as it cannot be read or heard repeatedly. In some case, it cannot produce any effect at all. For example, in telephone conversation the speakers are unable to learn the body language of each other.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Lack of flexibility is another important drawback of nonverbal communication. There is no scope of changing the meaning of message sent by nonverbal cues because here in most of the cases nonverbal cues disappear as soon as communication ends.
  • Grater Possibility of exchanging Fraudulent Message: In nonverbal communication, people can easily mislead others by using some symbols that don’t match with their mental status. For example, a person may show respect to superiors bending his head just to take some illegal advantage or favor. Thus nonverbal communication can increase the chance of exchanging fraudulent message.
  • Encoding and Decoding problem: Communication produces best result if the sender encodes the message considering the receiver and receiver decodes the message exactly as sent by the sender. But in nonverbal communication encoding and decoding may not be perfect if both the parties differ from cultural orientation and from cultural symbolism.
  • Differences in Nonverbal Cues across Culture: Most of the nonverbal cusses produce different meanings in different cultures. These differences lead the communicators to misunderstanding and confusion. For example, people in the United States and Canada say no by shaking their heads back and forth, people in Bulgaria nod up and down, People in Japan move their right hand and people in Sicily raise their chin.
  • Absence of Permanent Record: Nonverbal communication lacks in permanent record of document if it is not recorded. Since it is not a word-based communication method, it does not produce any written message that can be kept as document. It is done instantly and inherently but not permanently.
  • Necessity of Cultural Knowledge: Understanding the message in nonverbal communication requires cultural knowledge. If the communicating parties are not aware of each other’s culture, communication will be ineffective. Because the same nonverbal symbols convey different meanings in different cultures.
  • Dependency on Technology: In modern age nonverbal communication uses excessive technological instruments that are not comprehensible to all. Without technology, nonverbal communication seems to be dim.
  • Wide Possibility of Distortion of Message: There is greater possibility of distortion of message in nonverbal communication because nonverbal symbols or cues differ in meanings from culture to culture from country...

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Q&A

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The Disadvantages of Non-Verbal Communication.

Nonverbal communication is information communicated without using words in the form of gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions and even the space people put between them while they talk. With every verbal message comes a nonverbal one that complements, contradicts or strengthens what's being said. Just as nonverbal messages can improve communication between people in every situation, the overall disadvantage of nonverbal signals is that they can also prevent effective communication.


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