12 Difference Between Verbal And Non-Verbal Communication With Examples

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Communication is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols and semiotic rules. Every communication involves at least one sender, a message and a recipient. Communication is fundamental to the existence and survival of humans as well as organizations.

There are two predominant types of communication:

  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication

While most of us are aware of and use verbal communication on a regular basis, nonverbal communication is most commonly not intentional and can offer considerable information about both people and situations. Verbal communication helps us inform, persuade and entertain others whereas nonverbal signals can increase trust, clarity and add interest in communication when yielded properly.

What Is Verbal Communication?

Verbal communication is any communication that uses words to share information with others. Many people mistakenly assume that verbal communication refers only to spoken communication. However, verbal communication is about language, both written and spoken. This includes spoken words, written messages and sign language, as well as all coded information that refers to a particular language system. Parties involved in verbal communication give their feelings, thoughts, ideas and opinions and express them in the form of speeches, discussions, presentations and conversations.

The effectiveness of verbal communication depends on the tone of the speaker, clarity of voice, speed of utterance, body language and choice of words. In verbal communication, the exchange of the message is very fast which leads to rapid feedback, since there is simultaneous transmission and receipt of the message by the sender and receiver respectively.

The success of the verbal communication depends not only on the speaking ability of an individual but also on the listening skills. How effectively an individual listens to the subject matter decides the effectiveness of communication. The verbal communication is applicable in both the formal and informal kind of situations.

The domain of verbal communication can be divided into several component areas:

  • Semantics (vocabulary)
  • Pragmatic (social uses of language)
  • Syntax (grammar)

Types of Verbal Communication

  • Intrapersonal communication (This communication is extremely private and is restricted to ourselves. It includes the silent conversations we have with ourselves).
  • Interpersonal communication (Take place between two individuals and is thus a one-on-one conversation.
  • Small group communication (Takes place when more than two people are involved).
  • Public communication (takes place when one individual addresses a large gathering of people).

What You Need To Know Verbal Communication

  1. Verbal communication is the use of proper words and language to convey a message.
  2. Verbal communication is distinct in nature. Distinct means that messages have a clear beginning and the end, and are expressed in a linear fashion.
  3. Verbal communication is used consciously. Conscious communication means that we think about our verbal communication before we communicate.
  4. Verbal communication is exclusive to users of a particular language dialect.
  5. In verbal communication, the message is easily conveyed and understood by the recipient.
  6. In Verbal communication, the physical presence of the sender and receiver is not necessary.
  7. In Verbal communication, the exchange of the message is very fast which leads to rapid feedback.
  8. Verbal communication uses a single channel of communication, the human voice, which speaks a single word at a time.
  9. Verbal communication is a structured communication as it has grammar rules.
  10. The major use of verbal communication is to inform, impart knowledge or can be used as a tool of persuasion.
  11. Verbal stimuli are interpreted by the left hemisphere of the brain which helps in analyzing and reasoning.

What Is Non-Verbal Communication?

Non-verbal communication is the use of body language to convey information about their emotions, needs, intentions, attitudes and thoughts. Non-verbal communication occurs without using any oral or written word. Instead of written or oral words, it relies on various non-verbal cues like physical movements, tasks, colors, signs, symbols, signals chart etc to express feelings, attitudes or information. Although no word is used in non-verbal communication, it can effectively communicate many human feelings more accurately than verbal methods of communication.

Nonverbal human communication involves many different parts of the body and can be either conscious or subconscious on the part of the communicator. Some forms of nonverbal communication, like a handshake or head nod are conscious actions meant to communicate something deliberate. Some forms of nonverbal communication like a nervous hand twitch or a quiver in the voice subconsciously reveal emotional states that the communicator might not want shared.

Nonverbal communication plays a significant role in our lives, as it can improve a person’s ability to relate, engage and establish meaningful interactions in everyday life. A better understanding of this type of communication may lead people to develop stronger relationships with others. Often referred to as body language, nonverbal communication can take many forms and may be interpreted in multiple ways by different people, especially across cultures. Even a lack of such nonverbal cues can be meaningful and in itself, a form of nonverbal communication.

Types of Nonverbal Communication

  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Posture and body orientation
  • Body movement
  • Body Language
  • Space and Distance
  • Proximity
  • Para-linguistic
  • Humor
  • Touch
  • Silence
  • Personal appearance
  • Symbol
  • Visual communication

What You Need To Know About Non-Verbal communication

  1. Non-verbal communication is the use of body language to convey a message.
  2. Non-verbal communication is continuous i.e constant motion and relate to context.
  3. Non-verbal communication is used subconsciously. Subconscious communication means that we do not think about every nonverbal message we communicate.
  4. Non-verbal communication is universal and recognized across cultures. For example people around the word recognize and use expressions such as smiles, frowns and pointing of a finger at an object.
  5. In Non-verbal communication, recipient can easily miss either some part or the whole message.
  6. In Non-verbal communication, physical presence of the communicating parties is necessary.
  7. The non-verbal communication is based more on understanding which takes time and hence it is slow when compared to verbal communication.
  8. Non-verbal communication uses multiple channels of communication including entire body, facial expressions and tone of voice.
  9. Non-verbal communication is not structured; it does not have specific patterns.
  10. Non-verbal communication like touch and eye contact express closeness and emotions.
  11. Non-verbal communications are interpreted by the right hemisphere of the brain. These interpretations involve spatial, pictorial and gestalt activities in the brain, and elicit responses.

Also Read: Difference Between Passive And Active Listening

Difference Between Verbal And Non-Verbal Communication In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON VERBAL COMMUNICATION NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Description Verbal communication is the use of proper words and language to convey a message.   Non-verbal communication is the use of body language to convey a message.  
Communication Messages have a clear beginning and the end, and are expressed in a linear fashion.     Non-verbal communication is continuous i.e constant motion and relate to context.  
Nature Verbal communication is used subconsciously.   Non-verbal communication is used subconsciously.
Usage Verbal communication is exclusive to users of a particular language dialect.   Non-verbal communication is universal and recognized across cultures.
Clarity In verbal communication, the message is easily conveyed and understood by the recipient.   In Non-verbal communication, recipient can easily miss either some part or the whole message.  
Speed Communication is fast when compared to nonverbal communication. Communication is comparatively slow.  
Channel Of Communication It uses a single channel of communication, the human voice, which speaks a single word at a time.   It uses multiple channels of communication including entire body, facial expressions and tone of voice.  
Physical Presence Of Parties Involved The physical presence of the sender and receiver is not necessary.   Physical presence of the communicating parties is necessary.  
Structure Verbal communication is a structured communication as it has grammar rules.   Non-verbal communication is not structured; it does not have specific patterns.  
Importance The major use of verbal communication is to inform, impart knowledge or can be used as a tool of persuasion.   Non-verbal communication like touch and eye contact express closeness and emotions.  
Interpretation Verbal stimuli are interpreted by the left hemisphere of the brain.   Non-verbal communications are interpreted by the right hemisphere of the brain.

Also Read: Difference Between Active And Passive Voice

 Advantages Of Verbal Communication

  • It save time in communication
  • It is quick in obtaining feedback
  • It is flexible and more reliable method of communication
  • It is a powerful means of persuasion and control.
  • It is a cheaper way of communication.
  •  There are less chances of ambiguity or misrepresentation of information.
  • It helps create better relationship between parties involved.

Disadvantages Of Verbal Communication

  • This form of communication is not suitable for length messages.
  • Fixing mistakes becomes a problem while doing verbal communication.
  • There are high chances that verbal communication misunderstood in cases of language barrier.
  • A lot of irrelevant information creeps in during a conversation leading to wastage of time.
  • It is not convenient in as far as conveying long messages is concern. The receiver may forget the previously spoken important points leading to a chance of ineffective communication.  
  • Distortion of meaning is also common with verbal communication.
  • It does not provide permanent record unless it is recorded with modern means of storage.

Advantages Of Non-verbal Communication

  • Nonverbal communication helps us to express our feelings and convey our messages without using words.
  • Nonverbal cues complement a verbal message by adding to its meaning.
  • It is very helpful to illiterate people.
  • It can be very attractive as it is based on visual, picture, graph, sign etc.
  • Nonverbal communication is universal; it is used all around the world.
  • All nonverbal cues have almost instant effect as the receivers perceive them quickly.
  • Gestures and facial expressions may be used to restate or emphasize a particular point.

Disadvantages Of Non-verbal Communication

  • There is greater possibility of distortion of message because nonverbal symbols and cues differ in meanings from culture to culture, from country to country and from region to region.
  • Nonverbal communication is not effective when communicating parties are close or near each other.
  • Nonverbal communication is quite vague and imprecise.
  • Long conversations and necessary explanations are not possible.
  • Difficult to understand and requires a lot of repetitions.
  • Nonverbal communication is not a preference of many people. Many people do not prefer to communicate through non-verbal communication with others.
  • Nonverbal communication does not follow any rules, formality or structure like other communication.