Non-verbal communication skills for scientists and researchers

Become more aware of how non-verbal communication works, how to read it in others, and manage it in yourself so that you can build rapport with others, increase your credibility, and be heard.

Before we engage with others, we often consider what we want to say, but we rarely think about our body language and non-verbal communication. Research shows that our non-verbal communication has a significant impact on what people understand, the impression we make, and how successful we are in getting our message across.

Our non-verbal communication training programmes are designed to help you understand what non-verbal communication is, how to recognise it, and how to use it to build rapport, avoid self-sabotage, and be more persuasive at work and elsewhere.

Sample session outline

This course can be tailored to your needs.

Here is a sample outline to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Understanding what nonverbal communication is
    • The meaning of nonverbal communication and body language
    • Introduction to the areas of nonverbal communication (i.e., kinesics, haptics, vocalics, proxemics, chronemics, and self-presentation and artefacts)
    • The things that influence nonverbal communication
    • The functions of nonverbal communication
    • The characteristics of nonverbal communication, as opposed to verbal communication
  • Understanding other people’s nonverbal communication
    • The five Cs of nonverbal communication (context, clusters, congruence, consistency and culture)
    • Types of nonverbal signs (i.e., emblems, illustrators, regulators, adaptors and affect display)
    • Facial expressions and body attitudes (including the six universal expressions and how to recognize a wider range of states of mind through a person’s body language)
    • Types of smile
    • Eye contact
    • Analyzing the positions of hands, feet and legs
    • The functions of touch and things to be aware of
    • Types of handshake
    • Interpreting nonverbal vocal sounds
    • Proxemics and the four space zones (from intimate to public)
    • Territoriality
    • Seating arrangments
    • The use of time in nonverbal communication
    • Self-presentation, artefacts and environment
    • Non-verbal communication across cultures
  • Using non-verbals to enhance your communication skills
    • Engaging your audience
    • Showing that you are listening
    • Making the most of your voice
    • Creating rapport
    • Demonstrating confidence
    • Future planning to improve your nonverbal communication and body language skills
    • Making the most of non-verbals in online environments

PLUS: lots of hands-on practice to put your learning to work!



Participants will leave the training with: 

  • An understanding of how non-verbal communication can make or break an interaction.
  • Increased awareness of their own non-verbal cues and how to adjust them to communicate better.
  • The ability to recognise and respond to the non-verbal cues that others send.
  • Strategies that they can use to improve the way that they show up and are perceived in a variety of situations.
Delivery formats

We offer this training as:

  • Two half-day interactive group training sessions online via Zoom or similar platforms.
  • Shorter formats with modified (reduced) content depending on your needs, for example, webinars, short talks, and half-day sessions.
Suitable for

This training is suitable for scientists, researchers, students and faculty who want to learn how to improve their communication by being able to interpret and use non-verbal cues.

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Training interest

Kind words

Loved this. So much information and still time for some good discussions with fellow students. I look forward to being able to use some of the ideas when I create my first poster.

Poster workshop participant

Student SHA Utrecht University

I have just completed SciComm Success' Poster Design Workshop. It was full of interesting tips and tools, some of which I have already built into my poster planning. Although we had a big group and I expected a lecture/webinar format, Suzanne constantly invited us to provide feedback and our own experiences, and I enjoyed hearing what fellow biologists like and don't. I liked that the group was international and enjoyed the flexible and informal discussions - some via chat, some using whiteboards, some simple audio discussion. It felt as if we could all contribute, wherever we were. I would recommend this workshop for anyone new to creating posters for conferences. It would probably be a good refresher for poster presenters, too. Thank you, SEB, for the opportunity.

Poster workshop participant

Society for Experimental Biology Conference (2021)

This was a good refresher on best practice planning and design for posters. I particularly enjoyed the sessions on tools for choosing colour palettes, which I have since used in other communication materials, and the discussion about online and virtual conferences, which was an eye-opener for me during COVID. Thank you, Suzanne!

Poster workshop participant

Genentech, USA

Have something different in mind?

Book a call with one of our training team and let’s explore what you are thinking about, what you need, and what we can do to help.