The communication crisis

Why we are non-verbally illiterate

Since the work of Milton Erikson, psychologists now know beyond a doubt that one’s body language is vital for communication, and in many respects more important than spoken language. Whilst experts vary in their estimates, most agree that around 70-93% of all communication is non-verbal. Yet, while rates of global verbal literacy have risen, most of us are almost completely nonverbally “illiterate” argue psychologists and body language experts Alan Crawley and Ronald Riggio. Resolving this would require a radical shift in our outlook on education.


Every individual worldwide wants to be able to speak and write – to be verbally literate. When it comes to nonverbal communication, however, there is a paradox: we are instinctive “experts,” yet simultaneously illiterate. From birth, we are able to communicate nonverbally, through various “body language” channels, including facial and vocal expressions, body movements, and touch. Through tri

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Kandis Wright 28 February 2024

Wow, this is such a fascinating read! It's crazy to think how important body language is in communication, even more than spoken words. The idea that we are largely non-verbally "illiterate" despite being instinctive in our utterances is quite intriguing. I never thought about my lack of formal body language training until I started writing stories about it. I used edubirdie/examples/why-i-want-to-be-a-nurse/ to help since I'm not very creative. The three forms of nonverbal skills—expressiveness, sensitivity, and control—are essential, and it's clear how they can affect various aspects of our lives, from relationships to professional environments. Overall, it's a thought-provoking piece highlighting the need for a shift in our education outlook.

Guadalupe Malone 11 January 2024

Nice info