What is Communication?
Communication between people has taken many forms, but the most important and those that still predominate are included in verbal and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication represents that in which we use words, sound or auditory signs. On the other hand, nonverbal communication is one in which we use visual signs that are not words, such as gestures or the use of writing. In both cases, yes, the communication is based on the same objective, which comes to be the processing of a message so that the person who is addressed can receive it and understand it through one of the possible ways of dialogue. In this sense, regardless of the type of communication adopted, it is important that the message that is sent, is sent in one way or another, is fluid and easy to understand.
According to this, communication can be classified into two large groups: verbal and nonverbal.
What is Verbal Communication?
It is the use of words for the interaction between human beings, the language itself, expressed in spoken or written way. It constitutes a primary level of communication and focuses on “what is said”. The basis of this type of communication is in the use of concepts.
Verbal forms of communication
Verbal communication can be done in two ways: oral (through oral signs and spoken words); or written (by means of the graphic representation of signs).
There are multiple forms of oral communication: shouting, whistling, crying and laughing, which can express different emotional situations and are one of the most primary forms of communication. The most evolved form of oral communication is articulate language, the structured sounds that give rise to syllables, words, and sentences with which human beings communicate with each other.
The forms of written communication are also very varied and numerous ( ideograms, hieroglyphs, alphabets, acronyms, graffiti, logos…). From primitive ideographic and hieroglyphic writing to the best known syllabic and alphabetic phonetics, there is an important evolution.
To correctly interpret the written messages it is necessary to know the code, which must be common to the sender and receiver of the message.
Characteristics of verbal communication
- What is communicated is clearly linked to the object.
- What is transmitted is done by words intelligible to the receiver.
- Use concepts.
- The messages you send are content messages.
- It is a link of transmission of culture.
- When a feeling or emotion is transmitted, it is done by expressing the state of mind with words.
Advantages of Verbal Communication
Following are the advantages of Verbal Communication:
- It saves time in communication.
- It is quick in obtaining feedback once delivered.
- It provides a complete understanding of communication delivered and there is a chance to make it more clear in case of doubts in the interpretation of words or ideas.
- It is a more reliable method of communication.
- It is flexible and effective for all.
- It is a powerful means of persuasion and control.
- It is a cheaper way of communication and hence saves money.
Disadvantages of Verbal Communication
Following are the disadvantages of Verbal Communication:
- Emotions are visible and hence leads to trouble in certain cases.
- It has no legal validity and hence will lead to problems in certain situations.
- It does not provide a permanent record unless it is recorded with modern means of storage.
- It has issues when communicating with distant people.
- It is difficult for certain people to understand speech due to various speech tones used in verbal communication.
- This form of communication is not suitable for a lengthy message.
It is one where spoken words are used or sounds are emitted verbally. Intonation and vocalization play a fundamental role in this type of communication so that the message arrives effectively and can be interpreted by the receiver.
Very important elements such as para-linguistics are used in this type of communication, which, despite not being verbal, helps indicate emotions and feelings while talking. Thus, tones and sounds are emitted that indicate fear, surprise, interest or disinterest, mischief, among others.
Throughout history, oral communication has developed with the origin of languages and the linguistic characteristics of each population.
Examples of oral communication would be a conversation between colleagues, a cry of surprise or a telephone conversation.
Advantages of Oral Communication
- Cost savings
- More powerful
- Immediate feedback
- More suitable
- A relationship develops
- Correction of errors
- Informal communication
- Special applications
- Maintaining secrecy
Disadvantages of Oral Communication
- No record
- Distortion of the word
- Limited use
- Probability of omitting main subject
- Confused speech
- No legal validity
- Late decision
- Less important
- Lack of secrecy
- Creates misunderstanding
It is one that is done through written codes. Unlike oral communication, writing can last over time. This causes the interaction with the receiver does not occur immediately.
Written communication has developed over time with the creation of new media, and will be constantly evolving as science and technology continue to create new communication channels.
Examples of Written Communication
Advantages of written communication
- Authoritative Document
- Easily understanding
- Permanent record
- Reduction of Risk
- Less possibility of Distortion
- Alternative Method
- Delegation of Authority
- Effective control
- Personal Image
- Wide Access
Disadvantages of Written Communication
- Possibility of Miscommunication
- Lack of Instantaneous Feedback
- Expensive for Businesses
- Takes longer than Oral Communication
- May create a Liability Issues
What is Nonverbal Communication?
While nonverbal communication is one that occurs without the use of words, gestures, looks, body movements, among other expressions are used.
Many times, these two types of communication are used simultaneously when transmitting a message, forming a mixed communication. This can be seen in movies, cartoons and commercials, to mention just a few examples.
Nonverbal communication Definition
It is when messages are transmitted using non-linguistic signs. This is the oldest type of communication, as it was the way people communicated when language did not exist.
Nonverbal messages can be transmitted unconsciously, while they can be perceived involuntarily.
Nonverbal communication can be ambiguous because what is transmitted with the image or body expressions cannot always be controlled. In the same way, many times these messages are not interpreted correctly by the receiver.
For this reason, non-verbal communication generally seeks to reinforce the message that is transmitted verbally. Thus, the receiver can make better decoding of the message.
Through written communication, non-verbal messages can also be transmitted when using colors or emoticons, for example.
Examples of Non-Verbal Communication
- Facial and body expressions
- Physical Appearance or colors
Advantages of Nonverbal Communication
- Complementary: Non-verbal cues complement a verbal message by adding to its meaning. You can pat someone you offended at the back as you say sorry to him or her.
- Easy presentation: Information can be easily presented in non-verbal communication through using visual, audio-visual and silent means of non-verbal communication.
- Substituting: Non-verbal message may substitute for the verbal message especially if it is blocked by noise, interruption, long distance etc. for example; gestures-finger to lips to indicate the need for quiet, facial expressions- a nod instead of a yes.
- Accenting: Often used to accent a verbal message. The verbal tone indicates the actual meaning of the specific words.
- Repeat: Used to repeat the verbal message (e.g. point in a direction while stating directions.)
Disadvantages or limitations of Nonverbal Communication:
Despite of advantages of non-verbal communication, it is not free from its limitations or disadvantages which are:
- Vague and imprecise: Non-verbal 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. No dictionary can accurately classify them. Their meaning varies not only by culture and context but by the degree of intention.
- Continuous: It is possible to stop talking in verbal communication, but it is generally not possible to stop nonverbal cues. Also, spoken language has a structure that makes it easier to tell when a subject has changed, for instance, or to analyze its grammar. Nonverbal does not lend itself to this kind of analysis.
- Multi-channel: while watching someone’s eyes, you may miss something significant in a hand gesture. Everything is happening at once and therefore it may be confusing to try to keep up with everything. Most of us simply do not do so, at least not consciously.
Difference Between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
|Verbal communication||Non-verbal communication|
|Definition||It is when the words are used in the process of transmission of information between sender and receiver.||It is when words are not used to transmit information from sender to receiver.|
|Types||Oral and written.||Anyone that does not involve the use of words.|
|Senses used||Ear and sight.||Ear, sight, touch, smell and taste.|
|Examples||Conversations, interviews, books, letters, emails, among others.||Gestures, looks, posture, emoticons, facial and body expressions, among others.|
Types of Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
Verbal and nonverbal communication can be transmitted in different ways and for various purposes. Taking these criteria into account, they can be classified according to the relationship between the sender and the receiver or the means of communication being used.
Depending on the relationship between sender and receiver
- Unilateral: It is carried out when the receiver does not also serve as the sender. For example: in traffic signs or in advertisements.
- Bilateral: It occurs when the sender can also become a receiver. This happens in any conversation between two people.
Depending on the media
- Audiovisual: This includes messages that are transmitted through traditional audiovisual media such as cinema, radio and television.
- Printed: This type of written communication includes newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, leaflets, among others.
- Digital: Digital communication is possible thanks to technology, emails, social networks such as Facebook or Instagram, and other platforms that allow the mass distribution of information such as YouTube, Podcast or Blogspot are included here.
Currently, traditional media, both audiovisual and written, also have a digital presence.