Understanding Nonverbal Communication

Rob - author of the lesson plan   Rob | December 21, 2023
General English
Body Language
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
A man making gestures as part of the ESL lesson plan.

Lesson Overview

Body language is a great way of speaking! In this lesson, students will discuss body language and nonverbal communication. This lesson features a video that delves into the intriguing ways in which a person's attire and online posts can unveil aspects of their personality. Students will learn and practice vocabulary relating to the topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Listening: Students will listen to examples of nonverbal cues and social media behavior to understand personality traits and emotions. They will learn of the significant role of body language and how a person's online presence can impact communication.

  • Speaking: They will participate in discussions on how we perceive others and talk about the effects of nonverbal communication, social media profiles, and clothing choices.

  • Vocabulary: The lesson introduces terms such as posture, facial expressions, hand gestures, dressing casually, colorful clothes/fun patterns, floral prints/dresses, and active wear/sporty clothes.

  • Homework: The homework tasks are designed to deepen students' understanding of the impact of nonverbal communication and social media. Students are asked to observe nonverbal cues in a social setting, analyze public figures' social media, and reflect on their own clothing choices.


Have you ever been confused about why someone bit their lip or clenched their fists? Watch this video to learn about nonverbal communication and how it can reveal your thoughts and emotions. You will better understand the attitudes, feelings, and personalities of your friends, family, and coworkers.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

body language: type of communication in which physical behaviors, as opposed to words, are used to express or describe information
nonverbal communication transfer of information from one person to another without the use of words or spoken language
facial cues [noun]: movements or positions of face muscles that contribute to an expression
indicate [verb]: to be a sign or symptom of; show or demonstrate
reveal [verb]: make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others
convey [verb]: to communicate by statement, suggestion, gesture, or appearance
exude [verb]: (of a person) display (an emotion or quality) strongly and openly
gut feeling [noun]: an immediate physical response you feel that suggests the best decision when presented with two or more choices
prospective [adjective]: relating to or effective in the future
interpret [verb]: explain the meaning of (information, words, or actions)
raised eyebrows [noun phrase]: having your eyebrows in a position that is up or higher than they normally are, typically as a sign of surprise or shock
furrowed brow [noun phrase]: the wrinkling of your forehead, typically as a sign of confusion, concentration, or disapproval
fidget [verb]: make small movements, especially of the hands and feet, through nervousness or impatience
posture [noun]: the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting
formal attire [noun phrase]: Western dress code that is used for the most formal occasions, such as weddings, holidays, funerals, etc.
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