Nonverbal Communication Activities for Adults

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

A large proportion of human communication is nonverbal. Controlling your own nonverbal indicators, and interpreting the nonverbal communication of others, are valuable skills. Teach those skills using a few of these nonverbal communication activities.

Nonverbal Communication Activities for Adults

Nonverbal communication is a vital part of how humans interact. It has been said that 50% to 70% of communication is nonverbal, though people disagree on the exact number. It's therefore important that people are able to understand their own body language, control it, and correctly interpret other people's body language. A person who can do this will have a greater chance of success in business and in life in general. Here are some activities you can complete with a group of adults, to help teach about nonverbal communication.


Charades is perhaps the classic nonverbal communication game, showing that it is possible to communicate even complex ideas without using words. Play a game of charades with your students, but instead of TV shows and random musical artists, stick to everyday messages and emotions to convey like, ''My father just died,'' or ''I don't understand how to use a computer.'' This will make the activity of more practical use.

Photo Interpretations

Another way to study nonverbal communication is to analyze it directly. You can have students work in groups to analyze and interpret photos of people expressing particular feelings, emotions, and character traits nonverbally. Students can look at pictures of people, and discuss what they can glean from them. The discussion can then widen to the whole class, and students can see if there were any disagreements, or if the nonverbal communication was obvious.

Silent Movie Acting

Another game to help practice nonverbal communication is the silent movie acting game. Start by creating a series of silent movie scripts, and hand them out to students. Each script should have a small group worth of actors. Have them act out the script without using words - every line of dialogue expressed using nonverbal communication. An alternative version of this activity, that can make it more entertaining for those who are watching the performances, is to have one person be able to talk, and the others use nonverbal communication. This provides a more humorous contrast between the actors.

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