What is verbal communication?
When messages or information is exchanged or communicated through words, it is called verbal communication. There are two types of communication in this sub-group; they are:
Written and oral communication: this communication process takes place through face-to-face conversations, group discussions, counselling, interview, radio, television, calls, memos, letters, reports, notes, email, etc. Some definitions of verbal or spoken communication are as follows:
According to Bovee and others: Verbal communication is the expression of information through language which is composed of words and grammar.”
According to Penrose and others, “Verbal communication consists of sharing thoughts thought the meaning of words.”
So, verbal communication is the process of exchange of information or message between two or more persons through written or oral words.
The tone of voice can portray different connotations; whether it is a vocal tone, angry tone, or any other voice tone will make a huge difference in communication.
What is non-verbal communication?
When messages or information is exchanged or communicated without using any spoken or written word, it is referred to as nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication (NVC) is usually understood as the communication process involving sending and receiving wordless messages.
Non-verbal communication is a powerful arsenal in face-to-face communication encounters, expressed consciously in the presence of others and perceived either consciously or unconsciously. Much of non-verbal communication is an unintentional communicative gesture as people may not even be aware that messages are being relayed. Non-verbal communication takes place through gestures, body posture, eye contact, body position, physical proximity, touching, etc. Below are some important definitions of non-verbal communication:
According to L. C. Bove and others, “Non-verbal communication is communication that takes place through non-verbal cues: through such form of non-verbal communication as gesture, eye contact, facial expression, clothing and space; and through the non-verbal vocal communication known as Para-language.”
According to Lesikar and Pettit, “Nonverbal communication means all communication that occurs without words (body movements, space, time, touch, voice patterns, color, layout, design of surroundings.)”
According to Himstreet and Baty, “Non-verbal communication includes any communication occurring without the use of words.”
Non-verbal communication is the exchange of information or message between two or more persons through gestures, facial expressions, body position, eye contact, proximity, touching, etc. and without using any spoken or written word.
Characteristics of non-verbal communication
Nonverbal communication is any information that is communicated without using words. The important characteristics of non-verbal communicative gestures are as follows:
- No use of words: it is generally a communication without words or language like oral or written communication. It uses nonverbal behavior like gestures, facial expressions, lack of eye contact, body position, physical proximity, body language, touching, etc. for interpersonal communication.
- Culturally determined: some nonverbal communication are learned during childhood, passed on to you by your parents and others with whom you associate. Through this process of growing up in a particular society, you adopt the taints and mannerisms of your social space and cultural group.
- Different meaning: nonverbal symbols and gestural communication can have many meanings. Cross-culture aspects of communication give various meanings to same expression in respect of non-verbal communication.
- Vague and imprecise: nonverbal communication is quite vague and imprecise. Since in this communication, there is no use of words or language which expresses clear meaning to the receiver.
- May conflict with verbal message: nonverbal communication is so deeply rooted, so unconscious, that you can express a verbal message and then directly contradict it with a nonverbal message.
- Largely unconscious: nonverbal communication is unconscious in the sense that it is usually not planned nor rehearsed nor require any learning activities with its attributed level of understanding. It comes almost instantaneously.
- Shows feelings and attitudes: Facial expressions, gestures, body movements, the way you use your eyes – all communicate your feelings and emotions to others. It helps to provide a personal level of understanding as a communication of compassion which could be a barrier to effective communications.
- Informality: nonverbal communication does not follow any rules, formality or structure like other communication skills. Most of cases people unconsciously and habitually engaged in non-verbal communication by moving the various parts of the body; whether during educational communication, communication on success, or communication during teaching.
Major types of Verbal and Non-verbal communication
There are conversational gestures and symbolic gestures that promotes cultural values and effective communication in our daily life. Some of their types known are listed below;
Types of verbal communication
- Intrapersonal communication;
- Interpersonal communication;
- Small group communication; and
- Public communication.
Types of non-verbal communication
- Body movement and postures;
- Facial expressions;
- Eye contact; and
Both spoken and nonverbal communication are essential in everyday life. However, how we utilize them in conveying effective messages is what counts. You must stay clear of sending information with wrong signals to avoid mixed message or bad body language. Always relay messages with top-notch effectiveness!