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Explain the difference between verbal and nonverbal communication.

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lilfeva | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 18, 2011 at 8:26 AM via web

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Explain the difference between verbal and nonverbal communication.

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fernholz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 26, 2011 at 1:35 AM (Answer #1)

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Verbal communication is face-to-face conversation between people. It includes sounds, words, or speaking. Tone of voice, volume, and pitch are all ways to effectively communicate verbally.

Nonverbal communication includes gestures, facial expressions, body movement, timing, touch, and anything else done without speaking. People seem to notice nonverbal communication more than verbal. For this reason, it's important to control yourself nonverbally.

Language barriers sometimes affect communication. American gestures mean different things in different countries. It's important to be aware of these different meanings when traveling or working with people from a different culture.

Nonverbal combined with verbal communication can be interpreted in different ways. People may seemed very confused if someone is speaking politely while swearing at them. Usually people's verbal communication signals their mood. Communication can either be seen as passive or agressive depending on both verbal and nonverbal clues.

The combination of both verbal and nonverbal communication is key to effectively communciating with other people.

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psyproffie | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted November 18, 2014 at 1:00 AM (Answer #2)

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When you are looking at verbal communication you are looking at the use of auditory language. Language is the symbolic representation of actions or items within the environment.  For example humans have developed words to represent items (nouns), actions (verbs) and how to describe items (adjectives).  We use these words to express our needs and wants and our intent to others within our environment.

When you have non-verbal communication you are looking at body language. It is through body language that we use our past experiences to determine intent of the environment around us. This is also referred to as “body language” Body language actually comprises the majority of human communication and can be used to interpret truth and authenticity of verbal communication.


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