Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication: Meaning and Types


Meaning of Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

Verbal and non-verbal are two important modes of communication process which enable people in sharing ideas, thought and information among each other. The process of communication is one that makes it possible for transmitting the message from sender to recipient. Sender is a person who start the communication by designing and sending the message. Whereas, recipient is the one who ends it by reading the message and providing feedback to sender. Communication process is quite complex involving a series of steps that need to be followed in right sequence for effective results. It is a continuous and on-going process of listening, telling and understanding. 

Verbal and non-verbal communication differs from each other on the basis of means they used for carrying out a communication. Verbal mode is one which encompasses both oral and written communication and involve use of words. Oral form of communication covers face to face meetings, telephonic conversations, videoconferences, presentations etc. Written communication, however, involve use of letters, e-mails, manuals, webpages, executive memos, report, and bulletin board postings. 

On the other hand, non-verbal communication typically covers facial expression, hand and body movements, gestures, physical appearance, space, artifacts etc. It is a behavioural aspect of communication which includes both intentional and unintentional one. 

Types of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is classified into 4 types which are as follows: – 

  1. Intrapersonal communication: Intrapersonal communication are extremely private and restricted form of communication. Silent conversations that we have with own self are included in it.  These silent conversations refer to the roles we juggle in between sender and receiver processing our actions and thoughts. Intrapersonal communication on analyzing either can be confined as thoughts or conveyed verbally to someone.  
  2. Interpersonal communication: Interpersonal communication is a one-to-one conversation taking place in between two individuals. Under this type of communication, the involved 2 individuals swap their roles of sender and receiver for carrying out the communication process in clear way. 
  3. Public communication: Public communication refer to the one where a single individual addresses a large people gathering. Public speeches and election campaigns fall in this category of verbal communication. There is one sender of information and several only receivers who are addressing the communicator. 
  4. Small group communication: Small group communications require more than two peoples in order to carry out them. Number of peoples involved are small allowing each one of them to interact and converse with one another clearly. Team meetings, board meetings and press conferences are some of the examples of small group communication. These types of communications can become chaotic and difficult to interpret in absence of any specific discussions. There may be instances of miscommunication wherever the information is not understood completely. 

Types of Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is of different types which are as discussed below: – 

  1. Facial expressions: Facial expressions are key indicators of one’s attitude. A person can convey countless emotions via his/her facial expressions without even speaking. These expressions are extremely expressive in nature and are universal unlike certain forms of non-verbal communication. The facial expressions for anger, surprise, happiness, disgust, fear and sadness remain same across every culture. 
  2. Eye contact: It is a crucial form of non-verbal communication as visual sense is dominant among majority of peoples. Eye contact regulates the communication flow being main channel of interpersonal communication. Various things such as affection, interest, attraction and hostility get conveyed to people by the way you look towards them. The credibility of speaker gets enhanced when he maintains eye contact with audience while delivering his message. In addition to this, interest and response of other persons get easily gauged during the communication via eye contact. 
  3. Body movement and posture: Body movement are another widely used form of non-verbal communication. Different messages and meanings get easily conveyed by the way in which people sit, stand, walk, run or hold their head. The world is able to depict a large variety of information form the way you move and carry yourself. The body movements are categorized into two category which are unconscious movements and controlled movements in conscious state. For example, a person biting nails while being nervous is done unconsciously. Whereas, a person moving ahead in excitement to wish someone comes under conscious controlled body movements. 
  4. Space: Space as well as distance are important tools used in non-verbal form of communication. An individual is more comfortable in doing conversation in more spacious environment such that no one is invading his/her space. Physical space is needed by all although its needs vary as per the situation, culture and closeness of friendship. Numerous signals related to affection, dominance, intimacy and aggression get communicated via physical space. A person’s position in organizational hierarchy, his importance and authority get easily conveyed to external people seeing his decorated and well-spacious room. 
  5. Gestures: Gestures are something which we use in our daily life and makes non-verbal communication interesting one. It includes movements of head, fingers, arm, leg and hand for conveying some message to peoples. They are the deliberate body movements used for conveying intentional and specific signal. However, in different culture a same gesture may mean differently and used accordingly. Students for communicating to their teachers that they are listening using head nods gestures. Similarly, for saying hello and good-bye, peoples generally wave hands. 
  6. Touch: Touch is commonly used element of non-verbal communication which conveys a variety of emotion. However, the cultural background, gender, age, intimacy and relative status of person directly influences his/her accepted modes of touch. For example, in student’s culture when anyone touches them from back in examination hall, they get understood that the person wants to know something from them. 
  7. Physiology: Physiology refer to variations in body of person like blinking rapidly, sweat or skin turning red. These changes are uncontrollable and convey person situations to people. When a person body is sweating, it shows that he is feeling hot or has done some sort of work out.  
  8. Paralanguage: Paralanguage covers the qualities of vocal such as pitch, loudness, rhythm, timbre, inflection and tone of voice. The paralinguistic signals encompass everything excluding direct word’s verbal translation. The elements of voice need to be learn effectively in order to enhance the effectiveness of teacher.