Difference Between Verbal And Nonverbal Communication

Explain the difference between verbal and nonverbal communication.

Expert Answers
fernholz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The above answers do a good job when it comes to verbal communication. So, I will focus on non-verbal communication. 

Non-verbal communication is communication between people through non-verbal or visual cues. This includes body language (kinesics), distance between people (proxemics), voice quality (paralanguage), and touch (haptics). 

Based on these considerations, non-verbal communication communicates just as much or at times more than verbal communication. 

For example, if a person has an angry facial expression, enters into an aggressive stance (kinesics), encroaches upon another person's personal space (proxemics), and touches another person in an inappropriate way (haptics), then it is clear that a confrontation is in view, even if the verb communication sounds neutral. The non-verbal cues override anything verbal. 

Another consideration is that even in written text, there is non-verbal communication such as handwriting style, space, and the like. 

In conclusion, communication is both verbal and non-verbal, which shows that human communication is more complex than it might first appear.

psyproffie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

breauna912 | Student

The main difference between verbal and nonverbal communication is verbal is people speaking face to face. However, non verbal is people using sign language, signs, gestures, or even postures. That is the one of the main difference.

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